By Cliff Baird, MBA, PhD
RISMEDIA, July 11, 2008-In the early 1900s, two different companies in two very different consumer marketplaces each controlled over 80% of the world market for their product. They were both located in the same city, Atlanta, Georgia. And in an amazing irony they were both in the middle of the same boardroom discussion at the same time and their decisions would dramatically change their destinies.
They were struggling with the issue of continuing to invest so much money into promotions and advertising since they held such a dominant position. They made two massively different choices. If you knew that Coca Cola was one of the companies and Pears Soap was the other, can you guess the choice they each made? Coca Cola now has one of the strongest, most recognizable brands in the world and can be found everywhere because they stayed the course not willing to gamble on the forgetful mindset of a fickle public. Pears soap, on the other hand, has been reduced to a “boutique” supplier of bath needs and is difficult to find anywhere because they made an arrogant choice by not weighing the consequences of losing their brand identity. What is the message we can learn from this? Take nothing for granted.
It requires a phenomenal effort of consistent, dedicated focus as well as an enormous amount of money to create even the most modest of “brands.” The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and/or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
It makes sense, therefore, to understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition-that’s marketing. Branding is about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem.
Branding falls into the psychological realm of a Gestalt experience. This occurs when a buyer or seller is in the midst of choosing an agent or agent team and they bring closure to their decision through the influence of branding.
Branding is not only about logos, slogans, websites, e-mail identity, business cards, image, client support and the like. Branding is the ultimate Gestalt experience where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts because it is about every part seen as the whole. At any given moment, however, the “brand” is totally vulnerable to each and everyone who earns their living using it. In many ways the concept of “brand loyalty” must begin at home. The protection of the integrity and character of the brand must be the foremost thought on the mind of every team member. Team leaders need to vigilantly manage their brand by constant observance of their team members.
Remember, it takes your whole life to build character, but only 30 seconds to lose it.
The ultimate goal of creating the dominant brand is not to become more competitive, but rather to render the competition completely null and void
There are really only five objectives that a great brand must achieve:
1. Delivers the message clearly
2. Confirms your credibility
3. Connects your target prospects emotionally
4. Motivates the client
5. Cements their loyalty
How does your team brand measure up to these objectives?
1. Is your message clear? What is your message? What really is your brand?
2. Are you credible at being experts and finding solutions for our clients?
3. Do you truly connect with your clients and do you stay connected?
4. Are you motivating past clients to refer you?
5. Are you developing client loyalty?
We want to help promote your brand
Branding begins by developing internal loyalty to your services and support systems of the team. These confirmations are then marketed by every format into the client-centered marketplace to create and maintain business. Then there is a concerted effort by all the team members to gather as many pieces of evidence as possible to affirm the client loyalty to the brand.
We would like to feature your team if you have worked diligently and creatively to build a unique brand. If you would like to be featured in a future article, please e-mail information about your team to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cliff Baird, MBA, PhD, has spent over 25 years coaching agents and managers to focus on business systems that lead to abundant success. He is the developer of The RealSTAR Online Recruiting System, which helps managers handle the recruiting process.