Brand Coaching Model
Instinctive Brand Leadership™
Instinct's Brand Coaching Model builds Brand equity, which in turn increases shareholder value. Brand equity is comprised of the retained positive thoughts in the minds of all stakeholders including customers, employees and investors. Our Model builds Brand equity by raising employee attraction and retention rates, improving customer loyalty, boosting market share, increasing revenue and lowering expenses.
The Brand Coaching Model begins by debunking commonly-held misperceptions about Brands, by introducing clients to the skills of Instinctive Brand Leadership™ and by coaching clients to use these skills in every aspect of managing their business and growing their Brand.
Our name, Instinct Brand Equity Coaches, embraces the entrepreneur's instinctive understanding of Brand. As they launch their enterprises, entrepreneurs can easily articulate the key elements of their Brand, especially their Core Purpose, Vision, Mission, Position and Values – what we at Instinct refer to as elements of a Brand Foundation.
Entrepreneurs focus tightly and relentlessly on these foundational elements and ensure they are delivered to customers with ruthless consistency. These leaders understand that their Brand isn't a logo, a website, or advertising. They instinctively grasp that their Brand is what people think of you™: that their Brand is the sum total impression and memory of every positive, every so-so and every negative experience with every touchpoint of their organization. That their Brand is judged and assessed a value by everyone it touches, be they inside or outside the business.
Add to this understanding of Brand that the organization's products and services must be remark-able to survive and flourish. By remark-able, we literally mean that because customers are bombarded with thousands of corporate messages each day, successful Brands must grow by word-of-mouth referral through individuals who today increasingly trust friends, family and associates more than advertising.
From this accurate understanding of Brand comes the realization that the Brand is too important to be delegated to the marketing department, as has traditionally been the case. On a formal basis, the CEO must do what the entrepreneur does informally: that is, assume ultimate responsibility for the Brand by becoming the CBO — the Chief Brand Officer.
The CEO/CBO is the only person in the organization with the perspective and authority to communicate the Brand to all stakeholders at every opportunity, and ensure that all internal stakeholders understand that everything they do either adds to, or takes away from, what people think of the Brand.
Brand Coaching Model
A Brand is what people think of you™. So: exactly what do people think of you? That's the fundamental question of the ThinkAudit™, the second step of the Brand Coaching Model.
ThinkAudit™ is a simple but highly effective qualitative research technique that draws its strength from the diversity of stakeholders engaged in a brief but candid dialogue about the Brand. One-on-one interviews are conducted by Brand Coaches with past, present and new stakeholders drawn from three categories — employees, industry partners and customers.
A holographic image — the intersection points of diverse stakeholder opinion — takes shape. An understanding of what people think of the Brand, today, is reached. Clarity is achieved on what your Brand really is, and how to make it what you want it to be. With this understanding in place, the next step is to formally define your Brand with a Brand Foundation.
Brand Coaching Model
In a world where customers are confronted with thousands of commercial messages every day, your Brand must be absolutely consistent if it hopes to get noticed and retain mindshare. The Brand Foundation is a carved-in-stone document that acts as the reference point for everything your business ever does. It drives consistency on everything from employee recruitment to the wording on your website, to the color of the paint on your walls — everything.
The elements of the Brand Foundation are:
Core Purpose — Why we exist.
Vision — Where we are going, and how we'll know we're there.
Mission — What we do every day to get there.
Values — What we believe in; our principles.
Position — How we are different.
Positioning — How we say we are different.
Character — How we act; our voice.
The Brand Foundation is a powerful tool for communicating to all stakeholders: employees, customers, investors and the broader marketplace. Shared and talked about by stakeholders of all ranks, the Foundation ensures that at every touchpoint, your Brand reinforces the perception of value that you want associated with it. Potential new recruits, customers and partners can refer to the Foundation and instantly determine if they wish to buy-in.
The Brand Foundation puts your Brand in a locked glass box. Everyone can see it — but only the CEO gets the key. Internal decisions will be less affected by personal preferences and outside influences and will thereby become increasingly consistent.
Brand Coaching Model
Coaching the Team
The CEO has been introduced to the skills of Instinctive Brand Leadership™. Instinct continues to coach the CEO, along with the broader management team, to understand their Brand and the vital role they play in protecting and building it.
Identity Tactics — Only If and When Required
Naming - Only If and When Required
The only thing more difficult than building a Brand is creating a new one. Instinct's naming services are therefore reserved for situations where a new name is absolutely required — as for the introduction of a new product Brand or to reflect a change of ownership structure.
In these situations, choosing the right Brand name is one of the most critical decisions your business will ever make. A memorable name that properly reflects your Brand Foundation will make your marketing dollars work exponentially harder.
Instinct employs proprietary naming strategies to present clients with a variety of Brand naming options that give voice to the Brand Foundation and carefully take into account the Brand's competitive context in terms of language, cultural, geographic and industry-specific issues.
Visual - Only If and When Required
Humans are highly visual beings: for example, we always remember faces before names. The Brand's visual identity — comprised of logo, fonts, colour palette, design, and the manner in which they are expressed across all corporate communications — is literally the face of your business. It is critical that your identity brings the Brand to life and conveys a highly positive first, and lasting, impression.
However, as with introducing new Brand names, there are a very limited number of cases in which a change of visual identity is required. In the majority of situations, all that is needed are subtle, evolutionary adjustments that refresh the identity and maintain its essence.
To execute the visual identity, Instinct draws from its strong relationships with talented creative suppliers who are experienced with and supportive of our Brand approach. Instinct can also work with suppliers your organization already has in place. Either way, we never promote suppliers. We manage them on your behalf; we always sit on your side of the table.
Message Delivery - Only If and When Required
The effectiveness of advertising and promotional methods is on the decline. Customers in our world have seemingly infinite choices, are besieged by commercial messages and actively block out the great majority of them. Brands must also contend with fragmented media channels that each deliver ever-smaller groups of these customers.
Advertising and promotional dollars, therefore, must be judiciously spent. First on creative communications that powerfully convey the Brand message, and second on the most appropriate media placements given specific campaign objectives. Instinct brings several decades of experience to promotional planning and execution for its clients.
As with the visual identity, Instinct can draw from relationships with gifted creatives experienced with our Brand approach and all media forms and disciplines.
Brand Coaching Model
The CEO has been introduced to the skills of Instinctive Brand Leadership™ and adopted the role of CBO. A ThinkAudit™ has provided clarity and context to the Brand Foundation. The Foundation has formalized the Brand's essence and now acts as a reference point from which to make consistent decisions on the entire range of issues facing the organization. With a bias in favor of evolutionary — not revolutionary – adjustments only where necessary, Brand and marketing tactics have been executed.
But the Coach's job is not complete.
Maintaining Brand Consistency
Inconsistent Brand management is behind the waste in North America of billions of dollars in equity every year – as organizations drift away from foundational elements and carelessly change their Brand identities and promotional campaigns. However, precious cash, resources and organizational momentum can be preserved by consistent management of the Brand.
Indeed the most important rule of Branding is be consistent — because in our overcommunicated world, it is challenging enough for a singular Brand message to resonate with stakeholders, much less one in continual flux. Yet from day one, the CBO will face tough situations in which Brand consistency is threatened: because inevitably, in all organizations without exception, there will be stakeholders who tire of the Brand identity and message. It could be "old friends" inside the company who become bored with running a consistent promotional campaign, quarter after quarter — even though it works. Or it could be "new friends" to the Brand, in the form of recently-hired executives or creative suppliers eager to contribute and make their mark. They only believe they can do it by creating new campaigns that ultimately end up diluting the Brand.
Instinct's Brand Coaches will help keep your Brand consistent and on course, starting by coaching the CBO on how to maintain attention on directing Brand-aligned behavior throughout the business. Instinct will help you stick with your Brand Foundation and freshen, or evolve, your communications - only if market circumstances require it.
A Brand is what people think of you™. And over time, your industry's business environment will change. As a result, the way that stakeholders think of even the best-managed Brand will change as well.
We call this phenomenon the ThinkCurve™. Your Brand launches in a straight upward slope, as stakeholders are united in their perception of your Brand. Over a period of approximately three years, however, stakeholder perceptions can become diffused and your Brand's growth may plateau.
Now is the time to revitalize your Brand – to make an evolutionary course correction and a fresh twist – that will drive the Brand in an upward trajectory through its next phase.
Instinct conducts a ThinkAudit™ analysis by again seeking out stakeholder perceptions, identifying new areas of opportunity, developing strategy in those directions and executing tactics accordingly.
Brand Coaching Model
Attracting and Retaining Employees
Instinct can help your organization capitalize on the most exciting new opportunity for Brands: their power to attract and retain increasingly sought-after workers in the face of our worsening labor shortage.
North America's workforce is shrinking because of an aging population and decreasing birthrate. PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that 62% of Canadian CEOs say a shortage of skilled workers "is slowing the growth of their business."
Instinct can show you how getting and keeping employees is a matter of, in the philosophy of Southwest Airlines, "making them want you — before you want them." Brilliant Brands like Starbucks do it by obtaining buy-in to their Purpose: To provide an uplifting experience that enriches people's daily lives. Starbucks employees proudly tell others where they work, and why — attracting like-minded new employees in the process. A critical mass of Purpose-aligned employees takes shape, attracting new recruits in ever-increasing numbers.