One of my challenges as a marketing consultant sometimes is in helping a business develop appropriate language for their marketing and sales communications. This is not spin. It’s known as messaging, and when done properly, it conveys what is unique about the business that would make a customer choose to do business there. And if the business diligently delivers on the promise of their messaging, the business “brand” develops. Your brand becomes the image and identity that customers and the public always think of when they think of your business.
When businesses have trouble defining what they do that is different from their competitors, it is usually because they never nailed down what the business vision is, and they don’t stand a chance of ever developing a recognizable brand.
Business Vision serves more purposes than just helping define messaging and establishing a framework for a brand. It also is the foundation for the business culture. I was reminded of this when reading Donna White’s Story of a Seamless Brand. White is an executive recruiter who really understands the concept of the “brand”, and in this recent post she talked about employer branding. This is identical to the marketer’s branding, but it is the way the brand is reflected in the business’ culture. White tells a story about a one-time client of hers, a company called Cranium:
The brand and its integration into the culture were continually reinforced by a common language, a clear and consistent articulation of the mission and a set of criteria that was used to assess everything from prospective employees to product ideas. The criteria were: Creative, High Quality, Innovative, Friendly & Fun (CHIFF). Anything leaving Cranium – every game piece, every press kit, even the letterhead – was matched against the checklist to determine if it was CHIFF. Every job candidate was required to be CHIFF. And, in case you are wondering, yes, even I, had to be deemed CHIFF!
Take the time as you start your business to develop your vision. It will help you be a better communicator with customers and with employees. AND it will be the standard against which to measure all your business decisions!