It is common practice for brands to apply their core values to their products, services, communications and environment. However, many brands overlook another, vital dimension of brand experience- behaviour.
Harnessing brand values through behaviour is free and it can make all the difference to your business. Marketing communications which promise fast service, ethical practice, or cutting-edge design, will get you nowhere if you do not deliver on those promises. The only way to control your brand is to decide what it stands for and to ensure that you are delivering this in every aspect of your business.
Small-scale strategies, implemented over an extended period of time, can smooth the transition from the attraction of, to the retention of valued clients. While the strategy you take will vary according to your brand’s proposition, personality and position, it is worth remembering that consistency and authenticity can be achieved even through small details such as how you answer the phone.
So how do you manage behaviour as your business grows? As with any other facet of managing a business, the answer lies in planning, leadership and communication. From hiring the right people, to training them up and having them deliver the brand promise on your behalf, you need to know what makes your brand unique and pass this on to every person in your company.
Virgin is a good example of the competitive advantage which can be leveraged by investing in brand behaviour. Virgin’s diverse portfolio of products and services is held together by its core philosophy- the belief that brands should give people, whether employees or customers, something to believe in. Richard Branson is his brand. His philanthropic and challenge-driven pursuits are an extension of Virgin’s central values: making a difference, innovation, fun, and a sense of competitive challenge.
Behaviour is not a tangible asset – perhaps this is why brands often neglect this aspect of brand strategy – but it means something to people, and it is vital to the authenticity and success of your brand.