Balanced Brand: Find the Higher Ground
You are a brand. Whatever you do and who you are is your brand. If you, work, coach little league, volunteer, or blog, podcast, and deliver vlogs, you are delivering your brand value to the world. The essence of who you are, what you believe, and how you act on it, your reputation — is what you put into practice every day and how the world in turn reacts to your brand.
Do you have credibility? Are you full of hot air?
EXACTLY the same thing holds true for companies or organizations of any kind (including government). The messages people believe, possible purchase of products and services delivered, and willingness to even pay attention are commensurate with the essence of a brand. Is the organization putting a spin on the truth when confronted with a negative brand-affecting event? Are they delivering shoddy products or lukewarm services? Are they doing one thing but saying another?
A guy I know, John Foley, has written a book called Balanced Brand. I attended the launch party for the book and gained insight in to it even before reading it (Disclaimer: I’ll be helping out John’s new firm, Level, in the future). Then I read it.
Balanced Brand guided me to higher ground.
For nearly two years, my head has been awash in the technology and behavorial shifts accelerating due to internet connectivity globally and what that entails. There is a river of change flowing and it’s reaching flood stage. Blogs, podcasts, vlogs, online social networking sites, news aggregation tools (allowing people to scan and consume hundreds of blog posts and news headlines in a single sitting), and instant online conversations about brand-affecting events are facilitating shifts of consciousness and awareness that profoundly effects a brand.
As a consequence of all of these enabling technologies and shifts, there is a new participatory culture emerging which is allowing stakeholders in record numbers to participate vs. just being passive recipients of some miscellaneous communications campaign or messaging thrust…and this emerging culture is out of anyone’s control.
Balanced Brand made me stop and reconsider the complexities of all these changes occurring and instead climb to the top of the hill, sit down and look down on the river. I thought about the deeper meanings and strategies required to guarantee the river down below will be navigable…regardless of what technologies or cultures reveal themselves. This book is not about technology or participatory paradigm shifts, however. It’s about balance, the essence of a brand, and how to create and utilize balanced brand strategies.
Within its pages is a framework that allows any organization to understand and assess their values, those of their customers, shareholders, employees and communities within which they’re involved, and be able to then understand where and how to align them. Though it doesn’t say this as overtly as I am, what I thought was obvious was that — once this work was completed — strategic direction would be crystal clear.
Once balanced branding strategies are in place, every stakeholder knows what to do. They know what the brand stands for and what it means. Employees know how to perform and use the river-of-change-shifts to facilitate brand enhancement instead of being victims and drowning in it. What hit me squarely due to my involvement in technology, is that a participatory culture can be created that sparks innovation and creativity, grows top-line revenue and customer satisfaction, all of which is of vital importance to management and shareholders.
That was the higher ground I was guided to by Balanced Brand. It helped me focus and see that first-and-foremost it is the essence of the brand and the brand in practice that really matters. Everything else then falls into place.
This is verbatim to what I put on the Amazon site in reader reviews under John’s book. This is a bit of a plug for sure, but even if you don’t read the book, think about all this change from a 40,000 foot view instead of being in the weeds just trying to understand some minutiae of change with technology. The tech is going to change, get better and more useful, but the brand — your brand or that of the organization you own or are employed by — remains.
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.