Google the word “brand,” and you’ll find 42 million resources to research. Under “branding,”you could research brand awareness, brand equity, brand identity, brand management, brand trust. That’s just the beginning!

With a plethora of information out there, how does one pare down this blog post to a mere 500 words?  You guessed it. I’m a wee bit over.
The word “brand” is actually derived from the Old Norse “brandr,” which means “to burn”. That immediately conjures up images of livestock burned with a branding iron with its distinctive symbol (YUK … I can almost hear the sizzle) to identify which cattle belong to which rancher.  
So being distinctive is an important element in creating a brand.

In this Forbes article, Scott Goodson says that without differentiation, a brand has no chance of long-term profitability.  He furthers states that “people are loyal to brands … (and) brands …inspire millions. …”  He suggests that creating a vibrant brand goes way beyond a name, a product or a brand building strategy. He believes it requires a cultural movement strategy because we live in an era of “uprisings and movements.” The strategy needed isn’t cerebral; it’s kinetic.  It rallies those who deliver it to do so in a consistent, experiential manner that drives passion and loyalty in the end user.

Martin Lindstrom, author of this Fast Company article, is convinced that brands incubate raving fans when they deliver remarkable service. Not just good service. Service so legendary it rises to an unexpected level. Creating loyal customers is another important result that a stellar brand achieves.

Last September, the Business Record offered Central Iowans an outstanding presentation on generating client loyalty. James Kane, author of “The Loyalty Switch,” shared insights on how to move past a satisfied customer to gain a loyal customer. He suggested that loyalty is the equivalent to being in love, saying: “A loyal relationship is one that is nearly unbreakable. One that is never measured on price or ability … based on factors that create emotional bonds. We are loyal to those who are indispensable and who always have our best interests at heart. Those who make our lives better and easier. Those who we trust unconditionally and view as partners and trusted advisers.” 

Kane said that loyalty is bred when there is a sense of trust, belonging and purpose.

Trust comes from COMPETENCY (Do you do what you say you can do?). It comes from CHARACTER (Are you fair, honest and ethical?). It comes from CONSISTENCY (Are your actions predictable?). It comes from CAPACITY (Do you have the resources to address your client’s needs?). 

Belonging comes from RECOGNITION (Do you see your relationships as unique individuals or are they just a demographic group?). It comes from INSIGHT (Do you know what your client really cares about?). It comes from PROACTIVITY (Do you anticipate their every need?). It comes from IDENTITY (Do your clients flat-out like working with you?). It comes from INCLUSION (Do your relationships feel integral to you and your team, or are they merely “the client”?). 

Purpose comes from VISION (Do your relationships believe you have a shared view of the future?). It comes from FELLOWSHIP (Do they see your involvement in community building?). Finally, purpose comes from COMMITMENT (Do your relationships believe you are deeply committed to the values you claim to support?).

Achieve this and your brand may become so valuable it can almost be itemized on the company balance sheet.

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Carole Chambers
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Business Record