A couple of weeks ago, I attended a meeting at a private bank in Beijing, China. I had taken a copy of my book, The Global Brand as a gift, but that proved unnecessary. Not only had our contact already bought a copy, he had also bought a copy of Jim Stengel’s Grow. And subsequent questions not only proved he had read the books, but he was already actively trying to apply the learning to his business.
My reason for being at the meeting was to share the ValueDrivers framework and demonstrate that it applies just as well to financial services brands as to any other brand. But before I had finished outlining the need for a brand to have a clear purpose, the first element of the framework, I was asked how this fits with vision, mission and ideals.
It is an excellent question and one that I struggled to answer easily at the time. I ended up scribbling down a matrix in my notebook and we filled the subsequent pages with diagrams, trying to clarify how the different aspects of corporate mindset fit together. A clarified version of the matrix is shown below.
Like any simplification the matrix forces clarity, when in practice, things tend to blur together. But I think that the key dimensions do help identify where the different elements fit.
The first axis of the matrix looks at whether the impact of the element is internal or external. Does it apply to the company or to the people who buy the company’s product or service? The second axis identifies whether the influence is functional i.e. what the company does on a daily basis or whether it is aspirational (what the company intends to achieve in the future). In a way, this parallels the functional and emotional benefits of a brand. Because both of these are concerned with the future, I believe they can both be encompassed by what some call vision.
Where do corporate values fit? To my mind, these underpin the intent. They determine how the brand goes about its business. Does it really respect its customers and consumers and treat them fairly? Does it really have their best interests in mind or is it only about the profit that can be made from them?
So what do you think? Does this serve to clarify how these different elements fit together or obscure it? Please share your thoughts.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Nigel Hollis, Chief Global Analyst Millward Brown
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