I was talking about brands and brand values to a group on one of my training sessions and one girl said, “Yes, I understand all that you say about brand values, but it’s all in the context of established brands. What about somebody just starting out with a new brand with no history and no customers even?”
Good question, as most literature seems to assume an existing brand. But for a new brand it is an exciting proposition as you have a blank slate. Let’s just consider the simplest proposition: in an unsophisticated world, Jim makes shoes. They are good shoes and people hear good things about them. Pretty soon people are beating a path to buy ‘Jim’s Shoes’. A brand is born. But where does Jim go from here? Soon he will not be able to keep up with demand and he will be faced with choices: does he take on assistants to increase capacity, or perhaps put up prices to control demand while maximising profits? These choices will depend upon his values… his brands values. Dictating this will be questions about why people are buying his shoes… is it quality, style, cost, convenience? What we are saying is that his brand and its values are intimately tied up with his business.
For the rest of us we go into business with more of a plan and a vision, so we are not purely reactive to events. But I believe it is crucial to put the brand at the centre of the business in the early stages. That way the brand grows organically with the business and should always reflect the corporate values… and if the brand stewards listen to their public, those of their customers too.