Brand Identity Can Be Powerful

(If You Really  Have The Courage To Make It So)

By Matt Classen

Dear “Leader” and Principal Bearer Of Your Organization’s Brand Identity,

Your brand identity can be powerful. You know this. But do you really have the courage to make it so?

Matt Classen, Founder/CEO of Arrow Northwest, Brand Identity Consultant

With an organization’s brand identity, we talk a lot about why this aspect of your marketing activities is so important. We hear a lot about the importance of brand ambassadors and how they carry your message through word-of-mouth. We hear about how hugely important it is to have highly engaged employees so that they are continuous brand ambassadors for your organization’s message, both within your organization (to reinforce the philosophy and culture), and outside your organization. We talk about the importance of having a powerful organizational philosophy that drives culture and performance in ways that are second to none. We talk about how important all these points are in creating a brand identity for your organization that outperforms the industry standard. In short, there’s a lot of talk.

What is absolutely amazing to me, as the CEO of Arrow Northwest and brand identity specialist, is just how so many leaders like yourself, and so many organizations, talk about “getting” why the above points are important but only take half measures (if that) see them through. It’s almost as if you’re afraid of your own innate greatness so you strive to remain mediocre because that’s where things are safe. Well, my dear, another word for ‘safe’ is ‘boring’. In a hyper-competitive market, boring is a strategic disadvantage with clear repercussions to the bottom line. You say you know this, but do you really?

So let’s throw down here. If you happen to be a “leader” of an organization, and you claim to take your job seriously, then I’ll politely ask you to consider how you are using the points made in the first paragraph to create a second-to-none brand identity. I’ll bet you have a conventional narrative all ready to go for this one, so I’ll challenge you to step away from that well-rehearsed narrative and ask yourself, seriously, what is your company doing to create a second-to-none brand identity that inspires and creates real engagement? Why would someone deeply want to expend their precious life force in interacting with your organization, as an employee, customer or stakeholder? What will they get out of the interaction other than a practical exchange of goods/money for services rendered?

Now, before you respond, I’d also challenge you to read something. Gallop just released its State of the American Workplace Report for 2017. You may ask how you workforce is critically important to creating a second-to-none brand identity that drives second-to-none financial results. If you ask this, then it shows you’re still not getting a critically important factor: if you can create a powerful vibrational force within your organization, one that is switched on at multiple levels of being and loves being a part of your organizational philosophy, then you can reflect this outwards to a public that already identifies with what you’re selling, and take your brand to stratospheric levels. Harmonize those two, create something real, powerful, engaging, human, and you’ll be well on your way to beating the crap out of less enlightened organizations. And believe me, the bar is so low on this one that you can’t help but kick ass (if your leadership structure, business model(s), demand for your products/services etc. are all relevant, of course).

In short, stop playing it safe. Ask yourself what it means to be human. What inspires you on multiple levels? How is being alive so amazing? If you’re asking yourself these questions, you can bet that just about everyone else is asking them as well. And isn’t identifying with people, either individually or collectively a huge part of creating loyalty? Now, how can your organization embody this kind of vibration and then consistently reflect it through its brand?

At Arrow Northwest, we have developed a methodology in helping our clients develop powerful brand identities using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a model. This integrated methodology allows us to get real, real fast, and develop clients’ brands through engagement at multiple points, on multiple levels. This allows our thinking on the subject of brand identity engagement to reach levels that most people, leaders or otherwise, are completely unaware of or simply want to ignore because it’s getting too real. But if the market wants real, then why the devil would you deny it that? Ever heard of the tenants of Supply and Demand?

Now, let’s ask you, again, dear leader, how is your organization creating brand ambassadors that identify deeply with the very nature of your organization’s brand identity? You feeling me now?

Coming up with depth for your organization might seem like a monumental challenge. Yes, while there may be significant legwork involved in exploring, ascertaining, setting up, communicating and reinforcing that second-to-none brand identity, the great thing is that people already ‘get’ why it’s important. Why? Because we’re human! If you are in touch with your own human core, you can inspire the human core of others through your brand. When this happens, you have nowhere to go but to Ultimatesuccessville. You just need to be true, have the resolve, get buy-in and keep on keeping’ on. Once you do have the compelling sense of brand identity coalesced, reinforced and repeated through differentiated campaign messaging, You. Will. Be. Second. To None!

Now, do you have the temerity to see it all so? Or are you content to keep things mediocre and safe because that’s just so much easier? Actions speak louder than words, my dear leader, so let’s see just how seriously you really take the strength of your organization’s brand identity. Do you want you brand to shine like a blue giant star? Or are you content with the totally boring.