The title of this post were the key words that someone key stroked a couple of days ago when they were on Google. I found this out from the analytics on this blog. When I replicated the process I was interested to see that this blog was the first listing on Google from a previous post. I decided to use this example two nights ago when I was presenting the relationship between personal and organizational brands, and how to effectively position your brand with social media at a local university.
As a college and university brand consultant, top place on Google for what you do is where you want to be. During my presentation Tuesday night I talked about the value of blogs and their role in search engine optimization. I relayed to the group that I am always amazed at how many organizations either embrace a blog because they think they need to and it ends up just sitting there with no use. Or they think that they need to wait and incorporate a blog after embracing all the other social media. I am here to say, embrace a blog from the get go.
A blog is a great way to position your organization as an expert in your area, provide an opportunity to improve your writing skills, connect with the right brand champions and more. About that brand building process for a college or university. I am a strong proponent that a sustainable brand is based on mission, core values and stakeholder engagement, no matter what type of organization you work for. At every step in the process it is important to get opinions from your stakeholders about their views on your organization's mission and core values, and to ask them how well they think the organization is doing to bring those concepts to life.
The process starts with research. The methodology is often determined by your resources, your culture and intended outcomes. Enough research may already exist so you can go to the the next step and develop a brand platform, which is a short baseline summary of who you are and what you want to communicate in an accurate, authentic, concise and consistent manner. The brand platform should evolve from a communications strategy to a business strategy that operationalizes your strategic plan. The implementation of the brand platform throughout your organization (internal branding) is when the rubber meets the road. Make sure that your employees and other internal stakeholders are aware of, understand and embrace your brand strategy.
Next comes the critical step of aligning your internal culture with your external reputation. Utilizing traditional media (although fading fast) and digital media is when the process becomes tangible for most.Once those steps are in place it is vital to develop a rewards program that recognizes on-brand behavior. Don't forget to also develop metrics to measure the success of your brand building efforts. Like the old saying goes, "What gets measured, gets done." And as one of my brand heroes, Howard Schultz from Starbucks is known to say, "Managing a brand is a lifetime of work." Amen.
Any organization that follows this process will be effective in recruiting and retaining the right brand champions.