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Who Really Builds The Brand?

Within your company, which department is responsible for brand-building?

Trick question! The answer is “All of them.” Everyone plays a part in delivering on the brand positioning and bringing the brand to life.

Let’s use a hypothetical consumer packaged goods company as an example of “who does what” (the parallels to your own company should be easy to see):

Marketing – Establishes the brand positioning, identifies the go-to-market strategy and plan to win (Who, What, Where, When and How), and ultimately owns all brand activity and results.

Building a brand? Better get all hands on deck. Sales – Guides the retail experience in line with the brand positioning, and, most critically, ensures that the product is available to consumers when and where they need it.

Market Research / Intelligence – Identifies new opportunities and closes blind spots through information collection and analysis.

Operations and Manufacturing – Fills demand and ensures the lowest (most competitive) delivered cost in line with the brand positioning.

Finance – Ensures the brand is profitable and financially optimized.

Customer Service – Handles consumer requests and inquiries effectively and efficiently, again in line with brand positioning

R&D – Generates ideas and improvements that help the brand to remain relevant and innovative.

It’s easy to see how the failure of any one department – not just Marketing – could have a devastating impact on the future of the brand.

This view of organizational brand delivery has several important implications:

Marketing is the “hub of the wheel,” not “king of the mountain.” The best marketers consider others their partners in the brand’s success, not order-takers or lackeys. The ability to build strong working teams is one of the hallmarks of a successful marketer and brand leader.

The CEO’s role in the success of the entire system is almost impossible to overstate.