Buzz words. Oy. Our breed is the worst. Branding, story-telling, metrics, alignment. OMG. Half of us can’t even agree on what personas are.
So now “operationalizing the brand” is a buzz phrase that’s sweeping the marketing community. But what does it really mean?
Operationalizing the brand (it took me a few tries to be able to say it without sounding like a complete moron) is about aligning employees’ actions, business processes, and investments to provide customers with what they expect from the brand, within the constraints of business objectives (revenues/margins). It involves setting and meeting customer expectations from the inside of the organization out to customers. It’s about getting employees to understand and truly believe what they are doing every day makes a difference in achieving the same, ideal customer experience. It all comes down to people and metrics.
Surprisingly the concept of operationalization originated not from business, but from physics — an analysis of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Without straying into the intellectual abyss of physics, the general idea is that any concept (like brand value) is actually defined by the measurement operations that you use to quantify it. So the effectiveness of your strategy comes down to your system of metrics that connect strategy to execution and back (numbers that show how closely aligned all internal stakeholder actions are with what customers want).
It’s a continuum that feeds strategy with consumer/customer data that helps shape business strategies and execution. These data not only feed marketing approaches, but product development, operations, HR, finance, business development and other critical areas. It’s all driven by customer behavioral and perception data.
The metrics can be between business operations, between the operations and marketing and/or the customer, etc. But my favorite is connecting brand investments to business objectives. I like it because everyone thinks it’s so difficult, but it’s as simple as selecting a business objective you want to use as a baseline, and then creating a metrics trail from brand investments back to the business objectives. GroPartners loves to do this.
In my first-ever v-blog, I reduce the concept of operationalization to everyday business functions. After you watch the video, click the “comment” button at the top of the blog and share your thoughts.
To begin your road to operationalization, start by assessing the alignment among your internal stakeholders (employees) and your brand vision, mission, values, and value proposition. Matching these data against customer perceptions will give you a quantified idea of how much opportunity you have to strengthen the brand and grow. If you need some help with this, contact your brand strategy consultant, or GroPartners.
Special thanks to Julie Lindwall and Steve Italiano for lending their superior video production talents that made this edition possible.