I attended the Disney Institute's workshop (thanks to the local chapter of the Association of Talent Development for bringing it here) this week and there were a lot of takeaways as we talked about how one of the world's most iconic and profitable brands does business.
Looking at the graphic to the right, considering all of the incredible brands that are under the Disney Companies umbrella -- they know a thing or two about the subject.
One of the great disctinctions that they talked about was the difference between brand and branding. Here's how they described it:
Brand is the perceptions and substantive experience that consumers have with your company, product, service or people.
Branding is the activities and tactics you undertake to affect the stories, experiences, and perceptions that consumers have with your company, product, service or people.
In other words -- brand is what you and your team bring to life every day. The other is how you communicate the promise of what that experience will be like. Sadly, what most organizations do is branding. But they don't invest the time and resources into making sure that the brand actually matches the branding.
When that doesn't happen (think of all the times you'd have bad or mediocre service from a company who promised you were their #1 priority) to the consumer, it feels like you've been lying to them and worse -- they were a fool for believing you.
One of the key elements in gaining/keeping someone's trust is making a promise and repeatedly keeping that promise. That's what initially gets you a new customer and eventually turns that customer into a brand zealot.
Undrstanding the symbiosis of brand and branding and doing whatever needs to be done (training, secret shopping, employee rewards based on customer satisfaction, etc.) to make sure that the brand experience lives up to the promise is what allows Disney, Apple and Harley Davidson to all charge a premium.
We'll pay more for the brands we love because they keep their promises to us.
I challenge all of you to look at what you promise and make sure it's actually what you consistently deliver. If not -- it's time to invest in that brand.