June 4th, 2015
Everything the CEO does, or should do, has one objective: generate revenues — profitably and sustainably. That’s why branding is the CEO’s #1 priority: a strong brand sells.
A strong brand is an asset. Assets, including physical plant and employees, must generate revenues. If a brand doesn’t sell (generate revenues), either because it’s unfathomable or unknown, it’s a liability.
Newsflash: brands are the tips of corporate arrowheads — they must be sharp; they must sell.
Do CEOs universally accept this strong-brand-sells axiom? They don’t. Familiar example: the alarming number of CEOs who waste shareholder cash on Super Bowl commercials, most of which sell no products.
In her Fortune piece about Facebook’s new ascendency in online video, Erin Griffith wrote: “Facebook’s mission-driven executives, famous for downplaying any profit motive, argue that the video push is not about money or getting a competitive edge — it’s about giving users what they want and connecting them to the content that matters.”
In one sentence, Ms. Griffith simultaneously revealed two contradictory Facebook facets:
To wit: Facebook, which carries almost 25% of all web traffic, realized $3.3B in 1Q15 ad revenues and operates at a 40% margin. Apology accepted. Not.
GutCasting™ Your Brand
All Dish and DirecTV subscribers know that, unless their dishes are perfectly aligned with the corresponding broadcasting satellites, their TV pictures will be nonexistent or pixelated — in other words, useless. What a perfect metaphor for message alignment in branding.
If you’ll recall, in the third chapter of Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding, I cover the basics and stress the gravity of garnering GutShare: the share of the customers’ guts that a vendor occupies. Why? Customers make gut purchases, not cerebral purchases.
Now, I hereby introduce GutCasting: the means to transmit your brand to your customers’ guts. GutCasting, as depicted below, requires two levels of messaging alignment/accuracy:
View and commit to your gut the following image. The perils of message misalignment are real and should bother you viscerally. As you don’t like it in your living room, you shouldn’t tolerate it in your boardroom. Accuracy is required. Misalignment matters.
If you devalue branding, if your message is murky, this is the impression that customers, investors, and reporters will have of your company. Accordingly, your brand won’t sell.
Parting Advice to CEOs
Is your brand an asset or a liability?
If customers, investors, and reporters don’t react to, remember, and repeat your brand — if the impression they have of your company resembles the pixelated image above — your brand is a liability. It won’t sell. It must. Terminate it.
Remedy: Make branding your #1 priority. Hire people who know branding and face-to-face sales. Create a strong brand that sells. GutCast with alignment and accuracy.
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2015 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.