Thursday, May 10, 2007

 

Brand Police

I've worked for several companies now that use the concept of "Brand Police." In most cases, Brand Police is defined by a small group of people (or an individual) charged with ensuring brand consistency across the organization.

But the very concept of Brand Police is flawed, and implies that you're failing as an organization to effectively create and build a sustainable brand.

If you have Brand Police, you're always swimming upstream. and will likely never have the consistency you seek.

Why?

First, the very concept of requiring a "law enforcement agency" to drive brand usage implies a subversive effort within the company to circumvent the brand in the first place. Rather than "police" this activity, why not figure out why some groups or individuals aren't bought off on using the brand strategy in the first place. Are they simply renegades, or do they have a valid reason for doing something differently? Would their valid reasoning cause you to rethink or modify the brand strategy?

Second, the concept of having a dedicated "brand police force" implies that the majority of the organization either doesn't know what the brand stands for, or doesn't know how to communicate it effectively through their respective work.

If that's the case, you don't need police. You need education.

It's your job to teach your organization how to fish, not punish them when they use the wrong bait.

This may sound easier said than done, but look at companies, products and services that have the best, most consistent, most admired brands. Talk to their employees, and you'll hear how deeply the brands are accepted, understood and protected.

If you have Brand Police in your organization today, that's OK. Your quest is still valid and extremely important. Just make sure the concept of Brand Police is thought of as a very short-term strategy, with an eye towards the long-term plan of creating an entire organization policing, reinforcing and strengthening its collective asset.

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