August 6, 2013
Don’t have time to read? Here’s a quick but comprehensive summary of Libby Gill’s “Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow: The Art and Science of Building Brands,” released on August 6, 2013.
Who should read this: Any organization or individual who wants to build or rebuild a brand, including startups.
Elevator pitch: This book distills down the branding process to seven steps that will help large and small companies connect on an emotional level with their customers.
Author: Libby Gill is a business coach and brand strategist who has worked for organizations like the French government, Disney, Nike, and PayPal. She also helped launch and brand the Dr. Phil Show. Previously, Gill was head of communications and public relations for Sony, Universal, and Turner Broadcasting.
“Mindshare” refers to the heads, hearts, trust, and loyalty of your customers. And you capture it by branding, a process that simply means maintaining an ongoing connection with them. This book explores how great companies have succeeded by doing just that.
You need to define your brand lest others do so for you. Many companies offering great value have failed for lack of branding.
The first step in branding is having clarity on your purpose, premise, promise, and value.
- Purpose: why you’re in business
- Premise: what pain or problem you solve
- Promise: the change or outcome customers can expect
- Value: the benefit you provide
From there, every interaction you have with customers should represent that brand. Ideally, your branding will appeal to their emotional needs: making them feel good, desirable, safe, or significant. They will want to join the club or community that your brand represents.
To name your company, try incorporating your value proposition or making up a word. Be clear but clever, memorable, and short.
The Organizational and Team Cultural Indicator (OTCI) can help you figure out which of 12 archetypes you and your business fit into. That archetype can help you understand your company’s behavior, values, decision making, communication style, and cultural fit for employees.
One branding tactic that’s supported by science is appealing to the five senses, which play a role in creating emotional attachment and memories. Think about Starbucks’ coffee smell, the sound of whirring steamers, and the green logo. Try to incorporate a few sensory experiences into your branding.
To increase collaboration within your business, share information and communicate with transparency and respect. Invite conflict, but set ground rules for it. Retain some amount of structure and leadership so things don’t get chaotic. Make sure to capture brainstormed ideas and develop plans to put them into action. And create group cohesion by breaking down silos and having a shared identity.
People are often reluctant to collaborate because they feel they have nothing useful to contribute or may be judged. To boost their confidence, do an exercise where employees share their major accomplishments. And take a cue from Google and let employees spend some work time pursuing new ideas that interest them.
On the topic of conflict, it can be incredibly useful if done right. Encourage people to use “I” and “we” statements when an issue arises (not accusatory “you” statements). Think of coming up with a “third good option,” rather than deciding between two conflicting opinions. And tone down the emotions by having factual discussion that analyze the problem and possible solutions.
Finally, your physical office can be conducive (or not) to collaboration. Make sure to have a balance of private and group space, and spaces where spontaneous interaction can occur. And, in the style of Zappos, let employees express themselves in their workspace design.
Customers are emotionally connected to your “why,” your reason for being in business and the way you change the world. For companies that work with clients, you can help them experience that connection by having a mind-blowing welcome packet, introducing them to the team, clarifying the goal of your relationship, assigning them homework, and surprising them with gifts.
Your website also contributes to that emotional connection: avoid common mistakes like lack of clarity, confusing navigation, poor design or content, no proof of credibility, and not enough ways to connect.
In addition, the most successful employees are the ones who know how to connect with others. Build a robust network by forming associations with people, setting aside money to spend on meeting “intriguing people,” and making introductions for others.
To begin, assess your competitive environment: is there a market for your product, can you beat the competition, and do you even have to beat them to be successful? Be on the lookout for indirect competition, alliances between competitors, new companies, your own declining relevance, and customer fears that might prevent them from buying.
Even if you’re smaller, you can out-strategize the competition. Just make sure you’re continually monitoring their reputation and yours.
Social media is one area for implementing your strategy. Have a unified brand personality with different goals for each platform. Make sure you post great content on a regular schedule, respond to messages, and test out new ideas. And have a plan for reacting to crises.
For internal and external communications, make sure you have a core brand story, supporting messages, and tone. Create a corporate fact sheet and templates for press releases and company announcements, so your communications are consistent. And design strategies for dealing with big events that require communication (positive or negative).
When dealing with customers, remember the power of an emotional connection. Customers will support brands who convey trustworthiness, a sense of community, quirkiness, or coolness.
When dealing with the media, take time to prepare by learning about the planned article, anticipating questions, and having a goal in mind.
When dealing with team members via email, practice proper email etiquette: choose in-person or phone calls when they make more sense, follow up, and send positive messages sometimes.
Individuals like CEOs or founders can be a powerful voice for the company brand. Make sure they’re trained in communication skills like body language, speech, and confidence.
There is a trend toward companies incorporating social good into their missions. If you want to do that, figure out a cause that fits your brand that you have the capacity to help, measure results, and tell your customers about your efforts. Organizations like B Lab can certify you as a benefit corporation and provide extra tools and resources. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – customers can smell a marketing ploy. And remember that it’s a long-term game: you may not see profits in the near future.
Summation: The Eighth C
Finally, have courage – building a successful business and brand isn’t easy.
Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow teaches branding with the right combination of theory and practice. To go along with the seven “C’s” of branding, Gill provides case studies as well as exercises and worksheets. You can read about the stories of startups like TheComplete.me and Nasty Gal, then do your own exercises to name your startup, figure out your “why,” and assess the competition.
To explain why you need branding, Gill insists that if you don’t brand yourself, someone else will. While this may be true, I think startups (especially) need a deeper explanation and more motivation to embark on the hard process of branding. More detail in this section would have better paved the way for the insights to follow.
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