I recently had a conversation with a colleague who mentioned that they really loved the work I had done on a particular company brand. It was a company i knew very well and had worked with them for years so it was relatively easy to pick the best bits of their image and also see their potential. I designed the website, all the marketing material as well a producing a couple of videos. I found that few bits of work that I did for the company not only made the company look better in the eyes of their customers but also made the people working for the company feel better about the company themselves. We even got a better caliber of candidate when advertising for positions.
However, during this conversation where I was being complimented for my hard work, the same person, said I had produced a lie! What they meant was, that the brand image far out shone the reality of the company and the awful truth was – they were right – well half right. It was true the brand image of the company was great. people looked at the company with respect and began to see the company as the market leader – a place that maybe they would like to work. unfortunately, not everyone at the company was as happy as I had portrayed in the media. Though I had told no lies nor had I intentionally misled people, it was just the brand was out shining the reality and could back fire on the company if something wasn’t done. What I had done really, was to show the potential of the company. The brand was where the reality of the company could be if it kept to its core ideals and brand promises. this wojld mean everyone in the company would have to invest in the brand and believe!
I once spoke to a marketing guy. He told me that the role of a marketeer was not dissimilar to a magician. What he meant by that was how old style (and modern) magicians would use smoke and mirrors to hide what they didn’t want people to see and get them to focus on what they wanted them to see. So in branding terms, you highlight the good and cover up the bad. However, in my experience this can only do the company harm in the long run as you are basically living a lie.
If a company is true to its brand and its customer promises, then the company will be a happier more profitable place to work. People will always make mistakes, but sometimes the way those mistakes are handled can be more beneficial to the the company, than not making the mistake in the first place!
A truly great brand must be true to itself otherwise its not a great brand at all!