The Five Signs of Brand Leadership

Brand Leadership. It’s a term that we use at Good when we start working with a client to understand just how much they “get” brand.

It’s a quick ready reckoner to quickly determine if the business is walking the walk. So, if you're starting in a new business these are the five quick signs that brand is taken seriously in the organisation. That there is brand leadership within the business, from the top down.

These are just five quick checkpoints. We do have others. In our experience, though this is enough to guide you. Let’s get stuck in.


 1. The CEO gets brand

And when we say get it, we mean going beyond knowing that the logo is important. The leadership understands that brand is a contributor to the bottom line. That the values that the brand represents are used as guiding principals for every possible action within the business, from acquisitions to product development to attracting new hires. If you start with a new business and you get the feeling that brand isn’t respected at the top of the tree, then it’s going to be challenging to push brand-related activities.


2. Research how the brand performs

The C Suite loves the brand. They love the values; it encapsulates everything that the business represents. They are telling everyone every day that the brand is at the heart of everything they do. Great, a positive first step. But you need to know that people, your customers and your internal team, are seeing what they’re seeing.

That’s why brand tracking research is vital in making sure that the internal brand message is aligned with customers and that it performs well against the competition.

Brand research covers a wide area of expertise and can get expensive quickly. We’re up for making sure that the research is thoroughly done, but even some brand tracking is better than none.

3. Long and Short Activity

What do we mean when we talk about Long and Short Activity? Generally, your marketing spend is more effective if you can split the marketing budget by Brand Building activity (the Long) and Tactical Activity (the short). 

This brand-building activity helps cement your brand in the mind of your potential customers allowing them to know who you are. The tactical activity can then do the job of selling the product. 

You can tell that the organisation is taking brand seriously if they are adhering to the long and the short approach to marketing. It’s a harder thing to do in practice than it is in theory given the need to provide an immediate return on sales from marketing spend, but the approach pays dividends over time. 

4. Strategy beats Org Charts

When you work with an organisation that has spent blood, sweat and millions on creating a new product to go to market, then you can get into the position where the product team start to overly influence the brand strategy. This is very much the tail wagging the dog. Brand strategy should be complementary to the product team but not beneath it. 

You tend to see a warped vision of the brand; it starts to follow what the product can do rather than what the brand’s promised to their customers. When product and brand work together, the results can be compelling.

5. The Brand is as important internally as it is externally

Ideally, you’ve already experienced this. If you joined a company, then the brand would’ve played some part in your decision making. In the current “war for talent”, the brand is represented at it purest to convince you that the organisation is one that you could work for. It’s usually where the “long” implementation of the brand is most obvious.
The brand has to be represented as much to employees as it is to customers. And that goes beyond just having the logo slapped up everywhere in the reception area. It would be best if you felt that the brand values are the foundation of all the work that you do. If you think that the way the brand was represented before you joined doesn’t match the reality of being at the company, then the organisation may still have some work to do.

These are just five of the ways that we look at the ways brand is taken seriously within a business. There are more; we feel these are a good start. If any of these are missing, then it’s an excellent opportunity to start embedding the value of the brand within the business.

Want a deeper dive into our thinking on Brand Leadership? Listen to the episode of our podcast, The Good Round Up, where we chat in more detail about the importance of brand leadership and the five steps we outlined above. Listen below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere your listening to the magic.