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Christian Business Owners, CEOs, Leaders, and Entrepreneurs | Identity ...

http://www.identityculture.org/brand-innovations-ensuring-your-ventures-...

Written by Dale Partridge. Posted in Branding (http://www.identityculture.org/category/marketing-tactics /branding) , Marketing (http://www.identityculture.org/category/marketing-tactics) Published on February 28, 2011 with 1 Comment (#comments)

In this lesson we will cover: 1. Staying on top of brand value 2. Short brand case studies 3. Brand relevance criteria
A slow economy is a golden opportunity to do the things you know you need to do but have avoided. Its time to get the right people on the bus, decrease overhead expenses, increase talent, and reposition the organization. Its time to take the risks you were meant to take when the venture was birthed, when relying on God was all you had. Do you remember those invigorating days when paying for envelopes was a stretch? (or maybe youre still there). But all too often, organizations get caught up in thinking they have accomplished something and stop being creative and innovative regarding how their brand communicates to people. A business leader gave me a memorable analogy. He said many large organizations start like a young rock climber with vinegar in his blood, willfully taking risks because he cant see anything but the top. It is as if he is flying on the wings of an eagle.

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7/24/2011 12:57 AM

Christian Business Owners, CEOs, Leaders, and Entrepreneurs | Identity ...

http://www.identityculture.org/brand-innovations-ensuring-your-ventures-...

But as the rock climber ages, his focus on the top is replaced by the fear of a painful fall and the knowledge of the agony of defeat that many around him have experienced. Once dependent on the Holy Spirit, this climber now slips into caution. He hesitates when approaching peaks he once overcame. He moves more slowly. The prize of reaching the top, the destination, has blurred. His purpose is now simply climbing. He is lost in a fog of one foot in front of the other, and past moments of trusting God to do the impossible have faded into a dream he lived long ago. If you can relate, maybe its time to take up bungee jumping. Can you remember when you used to overhear people in the streets talk with excitement about your organization? When decisions erred on the side of faith? When people sacrificed early-morning sleep to cry out to God for an opportunity to effectively labor in his harvest? Can you remember the voice of the young man who just accepted Christ as tears of excitement rolled down his face? What does that feel like? Does it feel like alignment? Like standing in the perfect will of God? If you are like me, you long to live in this place.

The Problem
I believe that many large organizations have become wealthy Goliaths who live on past successes. Thirty to forty years ago, when these organizations began, they inspired action. Their voice was adopted by their generation as its own. Many may still be well known among the 50- to 75-year-old age group, but for those under 30, they are relics of a bygone era. The next generation sees their brands in the past tense. What does this mean? It means that such organizations will be able to ride the financial (http://www.identityculture.org/category/money-stewardship) loyalty of its founding generation only until their customers die. The leadership remains bound to the style and preferences of that population of givers. Even though the next generation needs the same message with different packaging, many old-line organizations, like that wary climber, are unwilling to change and take risks. Businesses are like candy bars. Most have invisible expiration dates. Unless they understand generational brand psychology and have used it to strategically balance their brand through the years, they will experience the slippery slope of ineffective decline. Generational brand psychology tells us how and why a group of people, usually defined by age, develops emotional connections with people, services, or products. For example, look at Pepsi, they have constantly stayed on top of their brand relevance over the years. Below, you can see one of many slight brand transitions that have occurred over the past decades.

Lets take candy bars for an example. A generation ago, hits included the Charleston Chew, the Wonka Bar,

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Christian Business Owners, CEOs, Leaders, and Entrepreneurs | Identity ...

http://www.identityculture.org/brand-innovations-ensuring-your-ventures-...

Necco Wafers, Mello Cups, and Bottle Caps. These brands captured the hearts of countless children who still recall the paper routes they worked to enjoy them. In my generation we were introduced to the Reeses Cup, Snickers, Kit Kat, and Almond Joy. We looked at the Charleston Chew, Necco Wafers, and Bottle Caps as the tastes of antiquity. In fact, only a few of the 30 to 40 primary candy brands today have survived the generational divide. Lasting brands hold to their values while adapting to new communications and connection strategies.

Solutions for reconnecting your organizations brand


Some organizations brands have maintained relevance for the long haul. But there is one I have kept an eye on over the years that seems to do surprisingly well at maintaining its core values while steadily increasing its relevance. That organization is Chickfila (http://chickfila.com) . This organization has not only survived; 65 years later, it is thriving.

Now I dont work with or consult for Chickfila, and my views are strictly those of an outside observer. But it seems to me that Chickfila understands four sound principles of Christian Branding (http://www.identityculture.org/category/marketing-tactics/branding) .

1. They do one thing, and they do it well.


People who gain a positive reputation are the people who do a specific thing uniquely well. Otherwise, the brand will neither be talked about nor gain a positive reputation. This means not just the service/product provided, but also the manner in which you consistently transition your service turn-around times, visual identity, information updates, and technologies to confirm the relationship as a brand to the public.

2. They understand the value of word-of-mouth branding.


These days more than ever, we need to leverage advocates to spread positive word-of-mouth support for our brands. We live in a time when a persons sphere of influence has grown from about 40 people to 300 people due to social media (http://www.identityculture.org/category/marketing-tactics/social-media) like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. For example, Chickfila has a major presence each year at leadership events that attracts 100,000+ high level influencers. Why? Influence the influencers and brand evangelism skyrockets.

3. They make their mission understandable to donors.


Chickfila understands the need for investors and customers to see returns from their financial (http://www.identityculture.org/category/money-stewardship) support. Customers are able to sponsor causes

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Christian Business Owners, CEOs, Leaders, and Entrepreneurs | Identity ...

http://www.identityculture.org/brand-innovations-ensuring-your-ventures-...

through financial (http://www.identityculture.org/category/money-stewardship) support and encourage christian initiatives. Chickfila also brilliantly offers opportunities to their customers to see the organizations heart. They are known as givers, supporters, and lovers. Chickfila actually provided Identity $5000 in meals for last years Identity Conference (http://www.identityconference.com) .

4. They set customers up for a lifetime of support.


Chickfila has an uncanny ability to get their customers to buy-in to their story. By creating momentum in creative current marketing (http://www.identityculture.org/category/marketing-tactics) , fun family events, and well founded moral values, the organization has their people buying much more than chicken sandwiches. To be frank, the food is pretty good, but what I buy is their purpose. They truly understand the statement, people dont buy what you do, they buy why you do it. In conclusion, revitalizing your organizations brand will require you to move away from simply climbing to once again reaching the peaks and changing the world. By applying simple but proven principles, you can connect your brand with a new generation of supporters and customers. If you have interest in auditing your brand to move toward a more current representation please visit the agency Identity uses: Legwork Brand Group (http://legworkcreative.com) .
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