Rebranding (even a little) Requires Changing Entrenched Perception

Your Brand Your Choice

Way back in  your company’s history your “Mission Statement” laid out to potential customers not what you intended to produce, but rather how you intended to be different from and better than your competitors. If you are still in business today, then chances are you were successful in fulfilling most of the promises you made in that original “Mission Statement”. Or, perhaps somewhere along the line you determined that a new direction was needed and after much “research and discussion” you completely revamped your stated mission in an effort to regain your appeal to, and your share of the market.

In either case, you bet your future on your brand being different, current and full of intrinsic value that no one else could offer. It sets you apart, makes you better, even makes you the “obvious choice”. Done and done you say? It would be if that was the sum total of what your brand really is!

What Else Determines Your Brand ?

Your customers past and present have developed an entrenched perception of who you really are. That perception effects every decision your customers and potential customers make. Every experience they’ve had with your company good and bad, is weighted against what you say your brand is and what your organizations actions and customers perception say it really is. Like it or not your brand is the entrenched perception of customers and the market. It is the cumulative result of actions by every person in your organization and the performance of every piece of equipment and every product every time. And customers will use it every time to beat down your price.

 Changing Entrenched Perception

Every producer in the industry believes that their teams are the best at what they do, and that belief is more often than not correct. So they leave it to their expert team to maintain the brand umbrella. And when the brand is negatively impacted by an action, activity or failure to live up to the branding and entrenched perception is negatively impacted, they look to their internal experts either individually or as teams to save the brand. Because they are good at what they do, they are asked to  identify flaws, develop plans, design and implement solutions. All while monitoring changes in processes, and or systems, evaluating the outcomes, managing change and performing their daily functions. Your people are the best at what they do! But they don’t do this!

Remember, these are the people who created the entrenched perceptions that have become your brand. They are really good at what they do of course, but they are also the people who hold the handle of the brands umbrella. And this last observation is exactly the one that your customers zero in on when you start to talk about change! It becomes the great “Yeah But” in changing the entrenched perception and maintaining or regaining credibility, sales margins, market share and TRUST.

Customers, competitors and the marketplace in general all realize that lapses by your people, inconsistencies in your processes, procedures, unbalanced systems, or accountability issues are what created the negative entrenched perceptions. They will often say or hear “expect some problems in that area or, depends on what plant or, is so and so still there”  all based on observation or personal experience. They are just as aware, that if your best were capable of or cared enough to fix the problem, they would have. After all, your organization has been made aware of them time and again. So even though you may be committed to fixing the rip in your brand umbrella, and your best internal experts have been tasked with designing solutions, the entrenched perception (and most probably the deficiency) is not going to change.

Your Experts Need Three Things To Succeed

Executive Management Support

Executive management has to move well beyond the old tried and true here’s the problem, I know our people can fix it and we’re behind them all the way traditional support system. That approach is the posterchild for Einstein’s definition of insanity (Quote) and also plays into one modern iteration (Ken Brand) on the definition as well. Executive management must recognize the limitations of their internal experts both in their qualifications and ability to identify core issues, develop plans, design and implement repeatable solutions, and evaluate the outcomes. They must provide genuine support by partnering their internal experts with external experts who “Do This“.

Fresh Unbiased Eyes

External experts carry no baggage or agenda. They bring fresh eyes and best practices tools with which to evaluate the problem, and the ability to identify core issues. It is also their mission to partner with internal experts to develop processes and systems that provide repeatable outcomes based on the specific circumstances. Equally as important, is their ability to educate employees in the why and how of new processes and systems. Their work should also include specific assignment of accountabilities to ensure clarity in monitoring and evaluating the outcomes.

Customer and Market Trust/Belief

There is no value or gain in any attempt to rebrand or adjust the entrenched perception if your customers and market don’t believe you’re committed to change. They must be convinced that what they are hearing is not “same song second verse” or all talk and no action. They want and deserve proof. Proof of how, of when, of repeatability, of consistency and most of all proof that you have heard the “Yeah But” and understand that both the old and the new definition of “insanity” are correct.







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