How your brand is your growth strategy – with examples from IBM’s Smarterplanet

A brand in its most essential form, is the value generating qualities of the business that drives margin over the cost of goods and services. It is also the set of emotional connections, which have a transformative promise in your customers’ lives. By using the brand plan as a road map for growth, your business can create assets, which bring the brand to life.

1. The brand architecture as a set of guiding principles and a road map for growth.  

The brand planning process generates a road map that looks enterprise wide across all the customer touch points. The brand becomes a road map for growth when a business uses the brand values to design the customer experience of each touch point. IBM’s Smarterplanet brand promise is a perfect example of this. The Smarterplanet brand promise is introduced as an overarching concept and vision, which IBM pulls through to the level of product and service.

A brand plan allows the business to be designed around the experiences and solutions a customer values most.

2. Through advertising and marketing communications, a brand is the face of your business strategy.

The brand expresses the value proposition of the organisation, and the values of the organisation  as a personality. As a personality, it represents the business in human terms, making an emotional connection possible. Just as a picture paints a thousand words, the face to the organisation, sets up customer perceptions and expectations. IBM’s Smarterplanet creates a face, by selling our dream of a brighter more optimistic world. When we see IBM’s Smarterplanet, we see ourselves reflected back, we feel good about the organization, and we can anticipate what we can come to expect from IBM.

Using a brand as a face of your business, allows not only customers, but prospects to develop an emotional connection to your business. When your business has a face it creates growth, because your business can be seen and felt by more people in the marketplace. The face of the brand attracts people into your pipeline.

3. A brand becomes an employee engagement engine, when it is turned inside the organization.

Businesses with high employee engagement are highly profitable businesses. By using the brand internally, and creating strong emotional connections with employees, your brand can energise and create passion for employees. In many ways a brand is an inside job, because when a business can walk the talk of the customer promise, more valuably and more consistently than the competition, it will win.

Louise Kelly

Managing Director

Hearts and Minds


Founder of Thought Leaders Circle

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