SUMMARY: Companies want a great brand because it attracts new customers, gets current customers to spend more, and keeps customers loyal. Great brands dominate the markets they compete in but bigger ad budgets or shifting dollars to digital is not the way to grow brands.
Gallup’s workplace data suggest that the most likely cause of your brand problems is not related to marketing dollars. Consider restaurants, an industry that depends heavily on customer loyalty and brand recognition:
- 40% of employees strongly agree that they know what their organization stands for and what makes it different from competitors
- 26% of employees say they encourage family members and friends to purchase or use their restaurant’s products and services
- 35% of employees say they are extremely proud of the quality of products and services their restaurant offers.
Great brands are built and sustained by a workforce that:
- understands your unique competitive differentiator
- aligns their performance to deliver on that singular promise
This is especially troubling in an era where brands have to fight for every customer whose voices abound on social media. Too many brands are switching money to digital, which is not the answer. You need to ask yourself, “what’s really important to my customers?”.
The digital revolution has pushed many customers toward price and features, but many brands are realizing that they simply can’t compete on that endless treadmill. And these brands are also realizing that culture defines their unique brand and market position.
A brand is about providing a consistent customer experience. But everybody has different needs. Ultimately, you need people to assess customers’ needs and tailor your services and offerings accordingly.
Then there is the pandemic. Pandemic-related lifestyle changes have led to huge swings in demand this year for consumer goods companies accustomed to only incremental shifts. Alan Jope, chief executive of Unilever, says most of the categories in which the group operates normally see growth rates of between 2 and 5 percent. “Now we’re seeing growth rates that range from minus 40 to plus 25 over the last couple of quarters,” he says. “It’s really unprecedented.”
Consumers returned to brands they had known for decades — from Kraft Heinz macaroni cheese to Lysol disinfectant — and retailers opted to work with multinationals that could offer scale and sophisticated supply chain management in the crisis.
Now is the time to set realistic marketing goals based on what you can and can’t do. Processes need to be analyzed to determine if they add value to customers rather than power hungry managers who like to build empires.