In the period when a brand is only starting it makes sense to mitigate the risk of no confidence. Putting the communication emphasis on heritage may be a safe bet. Origins or culture are among the simplest of solutions. You can draw on heritage in a number of ways. We readily reach for a bottle of New World wine, we appreciate Italian style or German craftsmanship. When we need to prove something we can always do it by reaching into our roots. The assets and particular features can also provide an interesting point of departure. For example restaurants do not always communicate in terms of unique cuisine; the narrative is often based on location (e.g. a unique view), interiors or a special atmosphere.
With the first bar measures in place it is a good idea to plan the next narrative step. People constitute an important adhesive factor in history. This takes on a special value for companies whose large component is based on contacts, service or skills. These are simple measures – if your staff operate in a culture, which is perceived as creating commitment, consumer focused, charging with positive energy, appreciating competencies – this will result in the corporation being thus perceived. Strong characters become mirrors of their organisation. Let us look at the narrative of Blikle. The first information reaching us says: the A. Blikle business was founded by Antoni Kazimierz Blikle on 11 September 1869 – this is where heritage appears in the narrative. For more than 140 years of its existence confectionary shops run by subsequent generations of the Blikle family were witnesses to and participants in the history of Warsaw and of Poland, offering sweets to customers in both happy as well as bitter moments – this is where people appear. This shows how universal in values this approach is.
Another variable in the equation is the essence of the brand, its values and priorities, which provide answers to following questions: what are we doing; why we are doing it and how do we operate. These are things to be sought at the roots of every organisation, deep in its DNA. Innovation is a valued differentiator, although building such a reputation is far from easy. Today most companies aspire to innovation. It must be remembered however that heavy spending on research and development as well as a multitude of patents, which do not lead to actual products, will not provide a basis for positioning as an innovator in any credible way. Innovation must be adequate to the actual contribution made. The change must show clearly that different (the new way) means better – creates value.
On the other hand brands, which exist close to people, are an interesting and very much up-to-date differentiator. Such brands stand out with their empathy and trustworthiness. The fact that we always keep promises and never fail has great value. To illustrate this point, this is e.g. consumer care – is the company really consumer focused, does it really care about its consumers and respect them. An important aspect of the corporate narrative can also be effectiveness of the organisation and the size of its operation. Consumers often perceive the size of a business as a guarantee of quality and support, resulting from its track record.
Looking into one’s organisation is a job, which takes self-commitment and fairness. Then why does it make sense to invest in a corporate brand? First of all because it has a certain particular feature: it represents both the organisation itself as well as the products it offers. As a value carrier it plays a supportive role – it may offer its blessing, make the difference, instil credibility, support brand building, provide a foundation for building relationships. There is one more important reason to build a strong corporate brand. Namely building relationships with a broad spectrum of stakeholders. While in brand relations it is natural to build bonds with consumers, professional circles will feel more natural in relations with a corporation. Such connections are most important in difficult and unforeseen situations. There is not future for a product without a stable stance of its manufacturer, irrespective of its category. Naturally every strategy involves not only opportunities but also challenges. We cannot forget about being credible and adapted to the world, in which we are discharging our mission. Slogans will not suffice if they are not implemented. Let us remember that it is not difficult to sustain brand narrative in times of prosperity, though in an uncomfortable situation. Making history is one thing; following its path is something completely different.