Actions and evidence is what separates the great brands form the average
So if you've looked at my website... What do you mean you haven't? You'll know I'm using a very rudimantary equation to illustrate how simple it can be to create a wonderful brand in your business - Great product + A powerful purpose + Actions (evidence you mean it) = Brand. But I wanted to point out that the most important element in the equation is the 'action' part. I've spent 20+ years working with some of the lands best brands and I've been analysing what it is they do that seperates them from the rest. I think there are x fundemental differences:-
1. Their purpose comes before their product. In other words, they care about something, they are fired up about a problem or an opportunity which causes them to establish a business or design a product, long before they think about making money.
2. Generally their problem/opportunity/idea is big not small, and it's generally an idea that a great number of other people also care about. They will become the followers, as long as they like the product!
3. Everything they do (their actions) are evidence that they mean it. I've purposefully called the 3rd ingredient 'action' not 'marketing' because marketing is just a small part of acting on their idea and providing evidence they mean it. Arguably marketing is becoming less and less important as consumer trust in brands and their 'marketing' continues to decrease, and anyway we all understand how marketing works nowadays; that it is, in effect, a veneer rather than an authentic reflection of a brand. i.e. I'm really not sure the head of Admiral Insurance wears an admiral's uniform all day, though I'm pleased to see their chairMAN is a woman, otherwise I'd have had them on falsely implying their 'boss' was a woman too.
Where the great brands win and the mediocre brands fail is in the action stage. Some amazing brands have a pretty average purpose (Zappos - Our vow is to wow) but they had that purpose before they decided to sell shoes online and then once up and running they have evidenced that idea time and time again in some pretty dramatic ways (a customer call that lasted over 10 hours) so you can't fail to appreciate they mean it and that builds trust.
So what is it that the mediocre brands are doing wrong? Well they may find a really admirable purpose that they all feel pretty strongly about, and they'll get all excited around the boardroom table but then they realise they have to turn this into actions their audiences can see. Often in an, 'Over promise under deliver' sort of way, the first thing they'll do is add a strapline to their website that brings the idea to life, before they've changed anything internally to make sure they can deliver against it. Then what happens after a few big bursts of 'purpose' energy is that activity runs thin as it gets harder to sell the idea internally and they run out of conviction.