FROM MISSION TO MESSAGE
Why Brand Strategy Matters
An interview with
former Orbitz marketing executive Roland Jacobs
for a Fortune 500 company is one thing—and
Roland Jacobs knows it well. Armed with a Harvard MBA, he was
part of the
brand management team for many years at The Clorox Company and
then provided leadership as the Chief Marketing Officer for the
launch of Orbitz.
But how does branding translate for less-than-Fortune-500
organizations that sell intangible services?
Recently CZ Marketing
president Dave Goetz discussed the nuances of service branding
with Jacobs, now co-founder of AspireOne,
practice that focuses on helping corporations, nonprofits,
and churches grow to the next level.
The word brand seems so overused.
Does thinking about the brand of one's organization really affect
Jacobs: The brand
is the most valuable asset that the executive oversees. It directly
impacts all key success measures: cash
of employees or volunteers, and growth potential. Brand strategy
about having a great logo. It starts with clarity of your
mission and goes all the way to the impact of your message—from
mission to message.
How does a leader begin to think about the
Jacobs: The most important
outcome will be defining in a couple of words what the organization
wants to stand for
in the minds
constituents. The human brain generally can't remember complexity.
A brand typically comes down to less than three words. For
whitening"; for Harvard Business School, "Make
It's not so much the short phrase, though—it's
more that you understand what the brand is. Everything that
should reinforce your brand depiction.
You use the words "brand" and "mission" interchangeably.
Is that intentional?
The strongest brands are those that most clearly and concisely reflect
And it starts
with having the
right mission. A mission that is distinctive, clear, understandable
and unique. The brand is what gives the mission emotional
resonance with your audience.
I've heard you use the phrase
the "touch points of an organization"?
What are those and how does a brand affect them?
interaction that a customer has with an organization is a touch point.
Touch points may include
system that answers the phone or, if an organization
has a lot of
the entry way and reception area. Even something as mundane
as an invoice or a notification says something about
the brand. The professionalism
and the personality that comes through in those mundane
communications can make a huge difference over time.
Gulp, that just reminded me about our invoices ...
adding a little quote at the bottom of an invoice can bring a smile
and build your brand.
So what's your definition of a brand?
Jacobs: It's a relationship
driven by a promise or set of promises that an organization makes
to its constituents.
of the relationship drives everything.
How do you know
if your organization's brand is effective?
delivery of a brand starts with a clear understanding of who you
are and how you uniquely
a market need. Doing
the first part well—a clear understanding of
who you are—is
only part of the equation.
A brand breaks down if you
don't have authentic communication and consistent
delivery of who you are.
But the other part is uniquely meeting a
market need. If there are other organizations like yours, and
clear to the
disengaged target customer that you bring something
unique to the table, you'll never have a chance
to sit at the
need to find what
unmet you are uniquely equipped to address.
looking at your competitors a good place to start?
want to look at successful peers to understand what is creating a
them with their
target audience. But the
worst thing to do is to replicate what they are
You must decide where you can meet a unique
need that you are uniquely suited to meet.
Copyright © 2003 CZ Marketing
For more information about Roland
Jacobs, go to www.AspireUp.com .