...goes a long way, especially when I'm thinking about brands, brand management and the power of brands to build successful organizations and careers.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

When does a brand consultant really earn his or her money?

When they tell the client exactly what the client wants to hear? No. They can get that in front of the mirror in the morning. And it's free!

I think brand consultants earn their paycheck when they do everything they can to help that client take charge of their brand and uses it to drive everything they do.

It takes being a pest. It takes being consistent. It takes a willingness to stick your neck out. I've found over the years that a little bit of Mark's brand talk can go a long way for the client that doesn't get it, doesn't want to get it or can't get it. They sometimes act like they can't make a decision. Sometimes, they just disappear. Sometimes they just say 'no.'

And sometimes, it clicks. That's when I hear the client repeating what I'm saying, holding others accountable to the brand and taking ownership.

It began to happen with one client a few weeks ago. We were discussing employee recruitment efforts when I told him the best tool for recruiting new employees is your current employees. If the current employees understand the brand, and wear it proudly - at the grocery, at the ball fields, at church - they'll spread the word and attract like-minded prospective employees. (The same is true for employees who don't understand the brand, who are confused and dazed. Zombies is what Mike Wagner calls them.) A few hours later, when the client dropped me off at the airport, he looked me in the eyes and said, "Mark, you really got into my head. I went out to the plant to look around a bit and started seeing our employees in a whole new way."

The brand warrior had won the battle...Stay tuned to find out if I win the war.


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