Thank you for calling our brand
A few months ago at Funk/Levis, we toyed with the idea of using an automated voice system to manage the phones for our office. A few seconds later, we realized that option misrepresented our brand and would prevent us from upholding what we value most— building close relationships with our clients. Instead, our team vowed to answer the phones to ensure we always provide personal and exceptional customer service.
Scott Bedbury, author of A New Brand World, offers a valuable definition of ‘brand’ that explains why we made the decision we did. In short,
“A brand is the sum of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the off-strategy… It is defined by the accomplishments of your best employee… as well as the mishaps of the worst hire you ever made. It is also defined by your receptionist and the music your customers are subjected to when placed on hold.”
A brand encompasses everything that makes up your company; it will define how the world perceives your organization and why they trust your products or services. Developing a strong brand is absolutely crucial and it requires participation from every person you employ, every vendor you rely on, and each consumer you reach. When we chose to forgo an automated message system, we made this decision for our brand.
Bedbury changed my way of thinking about the definition of a brand. The people you interact with create an impression of your company’s culture and brand. Your organization’s actions tell a story that shapes your brand. Here are a couple of my favorite nuggets from his book.
“Brands are sponges for content, for images, for fleeting feelings. They become psychological concepts held in the minds of the public, where they may stay forever. As such you can’t entirely control a brand. At best you can only guide and influence it.”
You can’t fake a successful brand. You must value it, nurture it, share it, and thoughtfully express it. Making sure your company culture reflects your brand is a good place to start. Create an environment where each person is encouraged and appreciated so they can influence your brand in a positive way.
“As brands evolve over time, they absorb the environment and karma of an organization not unlike the way children are influenced by the place they call home… Small children are influenced by the values and behaviors of their parents as well as by those of their friends. It is no different with brands, which reflect the company they keep and the values to which their company subscribes.”
If you take care of your brand and all that it represents, then your brand will take care of your company too.
If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Scott Bedbury’s book, A New Brand World.
—Kerri Keohane, Account Executive