A couple of months ago, we were preparing for Character Camp on one of the world’s most visible brands. One of the executives responsible for briefing us summarized the problem in a very interesting way. He said, “The situation here is that for fiveyears the business has been doing better than the brand.”
Over the preceding five years the company had cleaned up its operations, strengthened its product offerings and significantly improved its advertising. These efforts were driving traffic and growing revenue, but they were not building the kind of relationship between the brand and its audience that feels authentic and generates loyalty. In the absence of such arelationship, business success seems fragile.
People frequently ask me how to know when it’s time to bring abrand to Character Camp. I think that answering this question—is our business doing better than your brand?—might provide helpful insights. If the business is doing well, then presumably you have the competitive situation figured out (the war metaphor). And you probably also have good insight into your consumer (the science metaphor). But unless you have also looked at your brand through the lens of story, it is difficult to make progress in building the kind relationship that lowers your selling costs and raises your pricing leverage in a sustainable way.
This is, of course, just a theory. It would be really helpful to know if it rings true for you with regard to a brand that you are currently responsible for or one that you have managed in the past.
I would love to hear what you think.