Make Your Brand Self-Defining #kaizenblog recap
One of the great things about co-hosting #kaizenblog is how much I get to learn! This week’s Twitter chat was no different! What do you think about branding for your business? Can you say if your brand is self-defining? Stephen Dennywas our guest host for this week. He had written an intriguing post about Eigen Values and branding, “This Sentence has 5ive Words”. According to Denny, Eigen Values are “a concept from the field of cybernetics that describes a thing that is self-defining.” In fact, Eigen is a German word for innate.
This has relevance for business as well. Denny explained in his post that “Eigen Values are what we, as businesspeople, do when we’re doing our best work. We produce work that is synonymous with our brand values, our mission and our strategy. Always. In everything we do.” But how do we share that with our customers or even the world? And is this beneficial?
So we asked the #kaizenblog folks to explore “Make Your Brand Self-Defining.” There were a lot of interesting ideas exchanged during the conversation so it’s a good idea to check out theTranscript for #kaizenblog – SelfDefiningBrand_! Also throughout the chat, people offered examples of brands the do and do not self-define like Apple, Southwest Airlines, 3M, and many others.
How does creating a self-defining truism help/hurt your brand’s process of creating outputs? Stephen Denny began the conversation by explaining, “Self-defining outputs-websites, logos, etc.-that are absolutely unique/like fngerprint solidify a brand’s ID.”
- Caroline Di Diego (@CASUDI) “A self-defining truism like logo/slogan can help distinguish your brand from all others ~ like biometrics”
- John Reddish (@GetResults) “the more effort committed to brand clarity thru self-defining stmts the easier 2 remember brand’s central focus”
- Joe Sanchez (@sanchezjb) “Self-defining ‘truisms’ communicated externally, will be judged on authenticity and consistency. That can help/hurt”
- Eric Tsai (@designdamage) “branding=communication & meaning of ur communication is the response u get, visuals r subjective, words/actions mean more.”
- Chris Fife (@chrisfife) “With different medium limitations, selfdefining gets tricky. Like personalized license plates/handles are often misunderstood.”
Stephen Denny reminded us that “Truth is, we’re (as consumers) very busy. We don’t care much abt “brands” So consistency/Eigen behaviors R critical.”
There are often side threads that deepen the conversation about a topic. This follow up post by Stephen Denny picked up some interesting thoughts, ”Three Keys On Creating Self-Defining Brands-Kaizenblog, Eigen Values, + the Crucible of Public Debate”
To make this conversation clearer, it seemed that examples would help. Which brands are so consistent that their stuff is identifiable even when you don’t know it’s theirs? Apple came up several times as was previously mentioned. Other brands that were mentioned were Tiffany’s, Target, Rolex, Starbucks, Mercedes, BMW, Google, and Beano. On the other hand, Lois Martin (@LoisMarketing) and John Reddish noted that brands like Xerox and Kleenex have lost their ability to be identified in a unique way because we use the brand names as a generic reference to like products.
When is it okay to break away from from your core brand elements? This seems to be a process that has to be thought out as it can disconnect companies from their markets. There were a lot of thoughts about whether breaking away was a productive or destructive act for your brand.
- Amy Blake (@BlakeGroup) “Q3 Must have dedicated users, huge branding identity. Your brand is like “seal of approval” when extend products/services”
- Mary Ann Halford (@MaryAnnHalford) “Innovation and market changes make it ok to break away – e.g. IBM from mainframe to enterprise solutions”
- Tamsen McMahon (@tamadear) “A3: When what you are or what you do is no longer relevant. A good brand is an evolving brand.”
- Chris Houchens (@shotgunconcepts) “When you break away from core brand elements, you have broke the brand.”
- John Reddish “Launching new brand is often function of perceived market permissions – if + =brand extension, if – =new brand”
- Tom Asacker @tomasacker) “Brands are evolving, living ideas that add meaning and value to people’s lives. Nokia started in boots, paper.”
- Sametz (@Sametz) “Core elements aren’t a brand prison. They are a brand foundation. You can pretty much build anything on a solid foundation.”
It was clear that everyone agreed that a brand reflected the organization. Becoming self-defining depends on interaction with one’s target market so you are distinguished from others like you. Your Eigen value depends on what happens internally as much as how you interact with the customer. Disconnects can happen with how you provide customer service as well as when you break away from your core brand elements. Stronger brands are consistent with their Eigen values because you know what you get when you interact with the business from pre-purchase to customer support.
Where can you make your Eigen Value stronger in your organization?
If your brand is really defined by you and your customers, how is your organization identifiable?
What’s your opinion about breaking away from your core brand elements?