Business 2.0

Values-based branding

A lot of the work we do at Zumio focuses on achieving clarity of brand and business objectives. One of the phrases that’s popping up in my conversations is “values-based branding” and I wanted to just drop a short note here expanding a little more about what I mean by that.

To me, this phrase has a dual meaning. The first: in order to deliver a great experience to the people you are serving, you need to be clear about the type of experience you are are trying to create – not just in terms of the detail (i.e. what you do), but the overall feeling that you are intending people to experience when they interact with your organisation.

The second aspect can be summarised by this cartoon by Hugh Macleod (inspired the Hughtrain manifesto):

The market for something to believe in is infinite (Hugh Macleod)

Instilling a deeper purpose and mission when conceiving the brand (and I’m talking about more than lip service here – I mean truly engendering the values across an organisation through action, and not just “tacked on” as an afterthought) can have a big impact. First inside, then outside an organisation.

This is related to the concept of “thick” value that I mentioned the other day in reference to Umair Haque’s post.

I’m not saying you have to have a “save the world” clause in your brand values (although if you can authentically embed such a mission, all power to you). Just some sense of a deeper purpose that people can draw on and rally around when they need that extra inspiration to deliver a great experience.

Business 2.0

Brand as reputation vs. look & feel

Untangling brand and customer experience, in 10 minutes or less from Brandon Schauer on Vimeo. A bit of background over at the Adaptive Path blog.

I dig this infographic+voiceover explanation of two different approaches to brand. I think it highlights the need to focus on people as opposed to message, which of course gels with my line of thinking…

The only thing that I’d add is that perhaps there’s more to the “designed brand” than just “look & feel” – organisations still need to understand what they are aiming for in order to engage their people around those ideals.

In this sense I think the design of a brand is still a little bit “inside out”, although I think this should be informed by the people outside the organisation to ensure that it’s aligned with their expectations and motivations.

I don’t think Josh or Brandon are suggesting otherwise, just pointing this out as it’s not made clear in the video itself.

Social media & networking

Brand building on the web

Jax has an enthusiastic post entitled “Building brands on the web“. There’s some great points in there, worth a read (it’s pretty snappy – so won’t take long).

In relation to point 1: “Web users are an active audience” – I would heartily recommend checking out Clay Shirky’s talk at Web 2.0 – it’s a goldmine.

And extending point 5: “Easy and cost effective device to gain customer insights” – make sure you have permission! I know Jax knows this, but didn’t state it explicitly :)

And as Seth Godin and the folks at Campaign Monitor often point out, permission isn’t just “can I email you?” – it means providing timely and relevant communications.

In other words, just because you have an email address and an “opt-in” checkbox doesn’t mean that people won’t consider you spam.

Social media & networking, Work

Investor Weekly Branding conference workshop

I’ve been invited to facilitate an afternoon workshop on 28 Feb at the Investor Weekly Branding conference, speaking on the topic of social media, web 2.0 and financial services. The session is entitled Impact of Web 2.0 on Financial Services: Beyond Facebook and YouTube and blogs, and the session outline is:

  • Learn of various types of social media online communities
  • See what consumers are doing to (your) Brand
  • Investigate the ROI of social networks and the many revenue streams
  • Understand how consumer communities are creating peer to peer financial services
  • How to work with social networks now and in the future

The conference will be located at the Swissotel, Sydney (entrance on Market Street just opposite the State Theatre – map).

It seems that the financial services industry is keen to learn about social media – this session occurring shortly before the CPA Australia conference I’m also presenting at in May.

(Big thanks to Laurel for introducing me to the conference organisers – v. much appreciated!)