At Campos, we define branding as “the discipline that guides the way an organization thinks, acts and communicates.” The best way to express this is that every organization must synchronize their Vision, Values and, ultimately, their Voice. These three elements of branding summarize what the organization stands for, how it is distinctive, and why anyone should care about it.
Many times in our heavily branded world, “Voice” is confused with “Brand.” You will often hear an organization speak about its “Brand” interchangeably with this definition of “the Voice.” This definition of branding fails to appreciate that, in the long term, consumers today are engaging with the organization behind the brand, not the face (or façade) that marketers may attach to the organization to sell product. Consumers of an organization’s product or service want to understand what values support the external face they are seeing.
Inside-out branding is based on the fundamental belief that, if the brand does not live and breathe on the inside of the organization, few on the outside are going to believe in it. Isn’t that the whole point of branding: cultivating a trusted relationship with customers or consumers? Linking your Vision, Values and Voice is the best way to ensure that your brand can deliver on its promises in the long term.
The Vision, as set forth by the CEO, describes what the organization is striving to become. This Vision fully engages and anticipates the needs of the ultimate target audience for the organization—be that consumers or business-to-business relationships—as well as the capacity of the workforce to make the vision a reality.
Values are principles that govern how people within the organization behave and make decisions. They represent fundamental beliefs that are shared by everyone in the organization. Ultimately, these Values are translated into core competencies that specifically define the behavior we expect from all of our employees. In a more global sense, they dictate how large and small business decisions are made in an organization. It is largely through these decisions that outside audiences come to trust what the organization says they stand for.
The Voice defines the distinctive way an organization speaks to its constituents—be they employees, customers, vendors or consumers in general. It provides criteria against which all communications must be measured.
Image: Ladder to Sun/Anas Ahmad