Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. This definition, described by a brilliant brand-mastermind changed my marketing life forever. I heard the words, and all of a sudden, it all became crystal clear for me. What people are saying, their perception and their point of view all work together to formulate your brand.
When we look at our company's brand in these terms, we begin to see that it is impossible to separate it from reputation. Why? Well, simply stated, your brand has all to do with who you are. We have all heard the phrase, 'the word on the street is.' That word saturating the streets is a mighty force possessing the ability to craft and shape the hearts and minds of your audience. It is the motivation behind your customer's actions or lack thereof. It gives them reason behind the decisions they will come to make in regards to your organization.
When last has your business spent time understanding what the streets are saying about it? Do you know what they are saying about you when you are not in the room? It is imperative to be the fly on the wall when conversations about your brand, your people, and your service/product or being had. Your company's reputation should not be a well-kept secret from you. You must be in the know as your reputation becomes your brand.
It's like that good old interview question we all use to get. You're sitting there, pretty confident that the position will be yours. Then you hear,
"If your boss and colleagues were to describe you in three words, what words would they use?"
At that moment, most of us wish we could plead for our one phone call. We would use it to reach out to our boss or colleague for the answer. Since the interviewer would more than likely think we have lost our minds for making such a request, we continue on, making up a reply without no real reassurance that the three words we spew out are how they see us.
Companies must know how their audience and the public define them. For if the rumor mill is inaccurate, the job then becomes to change the narrative. If your company indeed precedes its reputation, then you get the free pass to run and build upon it.
The streets, better known as your audience, will provide you with invaluable insights. icon.
You must insert your company into your customer's world and become a part of it. Take to the streets to understand their outlook when it comes to your organization. Then don't stop there. While hanging out to gain a better sense of your rep, spend time walking your audience's walk, talking their talk, and experiencing your brand as they do.
It will be time well spent.