Business Growth & Strategy

Our Brand Identity Imperative

At Vistage, our four strategic imperatives are building the brand, growing organically, expanding internationally, and leveraging technology.

Today I’d like to talk about building the brand.  I list building the brand first because it’s the fundamental foundation for everything else.   Companies are built on brands.  And brands are comprised of several components, all of which we are working on and investing in at Vistage.

At the forefront is brand awareness.   How do you get your target audience to actually know who you are and what you do, if you’re not Coca-Cola?  It’s not easy.  It requires the use of a whole-range of tools, from traditional PR, to advertising, to other forms of marketing.  Most importantly today, that includes using all the tools that the web has brought us: search-engine optimization, blogging, social networking, and the whole panoply of new online ways in which you can communicate with—and connect your brand to—your ultimate customer.

Getting known is not enough, however; brand differentiation is the next essential component.  How does your audience know how you are more right for them than your competitors are? This has become even more difficult nowadays, when there is so much competitive clutter across such a wide range of media. It’s harder than ever to stand out.  So, you have to be clear and consistent about how you are absolutely different from other people who seemingly do what you do.  And that’s about how your values and passion are different, how the features and benefits of your products or services are different, and how your look and feel are different.  Today, differentiation is about both substance and style.

And the final component is brand integrity.  The brand must represent standards that are uniformly applied.  In a consumer product business that’s not too hard: Crest is the same toothpaste no matter where you buy it.  But in a service business such as ours, with a lot of variability in how that service is delivered by the company’s professionals, it’s very important to have a very high and consistent standard for how the service is delivered and how it’s valued by the customers.

So, branding today is very challenging, but probably more important than ever.  The three components I described (brand awareness, brand differentiation, and brand integrity) all roll-up into brand identity.   It’s the bedrock of our strategic imperatives here at Vistage.

Category: Business Growth & Strategy Customer Engagement Leadership Marketing

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About the Author: Rafael Pastor

Since 2004, Rafael Pastor has been Chairman & CEO of Vistage International, the world's leading chief executive membership organization. Established in 1957, headquartered near San Diego, and dedicated to executive deve…

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