Page Progression Paths for CCOs: Transformation Amid Disruption
Stewarding the Corporate Brand
Corporate Brand Progression Path: PATHFINDER
In the Pathfinder stage, stewarding the corporate brand is about managing the brand as a competitive differentiator. The goal now goes beyond whether your stakeholders recognize your brand, understand it, and even support your purpose and mission. The goal here is managing your brand so that it influences stakeholder decisions to buy from you, work for you, invest in you, and allow you to operate. It adds “sounds like” and “thinks like” elements to your brand platform and calls for a CommTech suite of communications and measurement capabilities.
43% of CCOs are at the Pathfinder stage of corporate brand.*
* 2019 Page Global Survey
What You Do
Identify core, measurable brand attributes.
These are essential decision-making criteria for stakeholders. What differentiates your organization from the competition? Your brand’s value and equity are built on these attributes, which are typically few in number and change little over time.
Example: “We make the planet healthier” may be an effective purpose statement, but it is neither differentiating nor measurable relative to competition. “We provide accessible and affordable healthcare solutions” is a stronger choice for a brand attribute for customers and “I work for a company that is making people healthier” is a stronger choice for employees and prospective employees.
Establish a brand performance measurement system.
For each stakeholder group, identify a peer group of competitors. These will likely vary by stakeholder. Establish a benchmark comparing your core brand attributes against competitive peers and regularly re-assess. This measures your brand strength relative to competition with data that can be tracked and analyzed.
Example: “In the opinion of existing customers, we enjoy a 15-point advantage over our top two competitors in ‘provides accessible, affordable healthcare solutions,’ but with prospects we trail by 10 points in the same core brand attribute.”
Add “sounds like” and “thinks like” elements to your brand platform.
Does your company think and sound like an engineer, a consultant, a designer, a man or woman, an entrepreneur, an academic, a middle-aged person, an activist? No matter which, does it think and speak in a way that is immediately expressive of its own unique identity? These choices set expectations for your stakeholders of how your company sees the world, frames and solves problems, creates value, and manages relationships. Clarity and intentionality about these choices build strong, distinctive brands.
Conduct gap analyses.
Now that you are assessing your brand’s performance by stakeholder and by competitive peer group and have defined what it means to “look, sound and think like” your company, you are ready to assess moments of truth with stakeholders.
In collaboration with HR, assess whether employees’ first-day-on-the-job experience is on brand. In other words, does it “look,” “sound” and “think” like your company?
In collaboration with customer support teams, assess if the company’s response to a customer crisis is on brand.
In collaboration with the CIO and general counsel, assess if your company’s response to a cyberattack is on brand.
If gaps are identified, co-create and take actions to close them.
What You Need
What You Measure
Brand performance by core brand attribute and by stakeholder relative to competition