We live in a subjective world. Crisp analytical skills and a razor-sharp memory for data distinguished many bosses of yesteryear. Today, inexhaustible data – cut in any way imaginable – dance at our command. It’s no surprise the leadership edge is increasingly intuitive. Who has the time to wade through all those numbers and scenarios?
Intuition is also how consumers perceive brands. I’ve often said a firm’s brand deserves the corner office. A company’s decisions should be tackled from the standpoint of what advances the interest of its brand or brands.
Does that attitude short-change dollars-and-cents realities? How could it when IP assets like brands and proprietary formulas constitute such a huge portion of the typical company’s worth?!
In many ways, being the CEO means being the chief branding officer. By this, I don’t mean CEOs should dedicate themselves to nuts-and-bolts marketing. But they have a responsibility to keep the brand alive, organic and authentic in an intuitive way as company decisions are made. Companies withintuitive clarity are best positioned to seize each competitive moment decisively.
Here are seven simple and effective ways CEOs can help guide their companies through applying intuitive brand management skills:
- Insist all senior execs share a common, bullet-proof grasp of the company’s leading brands . . . nailed with single-diagram or elevator-pitch conciseness.
- Immerse yourself in regular, off-the-cuff communication with consumers about the brand.
- Dialogue with your brand evangelists in social media to learn their expectations of how the brand could be strengthened.
- Review training materials and verify that they convey the spirit and the excitement of the brand to your associates from top to bottom.
- Personally monitor new products and marketing programs as they evolve to guarantee they are true to brand DNA.
- Demand vivid, constant awareness of how key competitors are developing theirbrands.
- At least annually, assess your much coveted brand worth and determine how technology and other external forces are impacting it.
The first responsibility of a brand custodian is to treat brands as dynamic and organic. A former publisher of Forbes, Malcolm Forbes, had a rule of thumb that applies superbly to branding: “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” Brands are also exactly what they are . . . not the dream that they aspire to be.