The Best Branding Starts From The Inside

I think if we all look at the most valuable brands in the market today - they all have compelling stories about their genesis and makeup.  According to Forbes, the top five are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Coke.  Amazon is sixth and I bet there would be in the top five if things were reranked today.  What is common about each one is that their history and the growth of their brands are directly tied to the makeup and culture of the organization.

I personally put FedEx right near the top of the brand list (how they are #83 on the list is beyond me).  Granted there is some bias since I worked there for 5 years, but I remember hearing the story of Fred Smith getting a "C" on his Yale paper about his plan for overnight delivery and other yarns about how he kept the company going and moving it into the juggernaut it is today.  All those antidotes and the culture it helped created bleeds into the brand every day and I would guess that true of the other valuable brands on this list.

A brand, for all its marketing needs and intents, is the sum total of an organization's character - both perceived and actual.  We all know that marketing is about controlling perception, but brands take everything in - the good and the bad - and live with that in full display of the public.  We've all seen great brands die at the hands of bad actors or management and great ones either grown from nowhere or rise from the ashes.  I would submit that the main reason for all of that is how the organization acted and the tenants it held on to over the course of their maturation.

Regardless of your company's size or tenure, this concept is not out of reach for you.  The best brands are developed from the inside of a company - not outside.  Sure the creative execution may be aided by the help of talented agencies and partners, but the art and copy will never work if there is no depth.  There has to be an authenticity that goes along with branding or else it is just color and words on a page.  Search for that authentic current in your organization and have it reflect in your branding.  It will make your positioning and messaging stronger and provide a truer connection to the market and your customers.

You may not be Jeff Bezos packing boxes on the floor or Bill Gates building a computer in a garage but there are things that make your company unique.  Understand them and leverage them in your marketing.  It will set the tone that will drive your brand to new heights.