The Heart of Brand Success – Part 2: Brand Behavior
Talk is Cheap
Your beliefs don’t make you a better brand … your behaviors do.
You can tell a lot about a person by their behavior because who we are on a day-to-day basis is the greatest testament to what we believe. Our behaviors are what bring our beliefs to life; they are what make our convictions and ideologies known. The people we love, how we love them, the causes we support, how we help them; these are reflections of our beliefs. Our behaviors can be powerful vehicles for change. When a person’s behavior makes a difference, others are drawn to them because they want to live in a way that makes a difference, they want to be a part of something bigger. Not because of attention or credit, but because of a desire to make the world a better place.
As it turns out, brands are no different. An organization is known, respected, trusted, and admired based on how it behaves what it believes. You can tell a lot about an organization based on where and how they invest their time and energy. How they engage the world and hold to their convictions. Just as our actions and behaviors demonstrate what lies within our hearts, the way a brand conducts itself identifies what lies at the heart of its purpose and people. An organization’s actions prove what it believes, regardless of what is written on websites, in employee handbooks, or the mantras hanging on the office walls.
“For the hard workers. The searchers. The risk-taking,
mistake making, watermen with nothing to prove. For the seafaring, the wax sharing, the grommets, young and old. For the tried and true, who’ve paid their dues, for those who choose to stay salty and Find Refuge in the Sea.” —Salty Crew
Salty Crew’s strong Brand Belief fuels everything they do. The brand lives out its belief through authentic Brand Behaviors — cultivating a powerful tribe of like-minded customers who share their beliefs.
What is Brand Behavior?
You preach what you believe, but others believe (or not) by watching how you behave.
Brand Behavior, simply put, is the collection of actions by which an organization is known. The way employees are treated, customers are engaged, and resources utilized are all a part of a brand’s behavior. But perhaps the most crucial element is what a company does to make people’s lives and the world a better place. Many brands talk the talk but fail to align their actions with what they claim to believe. But when your beliefs as a brand run through you, when they become a part of your DNA and the fabric of your existence, your beliefs become a reality through actionable behavior. No one sees this more clearly than the customer. When behavior and belief don’t align, brands lose credibility, and ultimately they lose customers.
Your beliefs guide your organization, but your actions define it. People talk about your acts; they talk about your behavior. Because the world is changed, for better or worse, by your example, not your opinion.
When your beliefs are lived out through behavior, you demonstrate your value to your customers, driving loyalty, trust, evangelism, and growth. People take notice when your company looks to make the world a better place; your products have more value than other brands, not because the quality is necessarily better, but because people know your products represent something more. People buy your organization’s heart; they are drawn in by what you believe, but they are bought in by watching how you behave. Your heart determines everything.
When people witness your brand’s behaviors aligning with its beliefs, it’s infectious; they are drawn to your brand, not because of the products or services you sell, but because of the identity you have created. Customers see your behavior and long to align themselves with the heart of your organization.
Living Your Belief
So, how does your organization live its Brand Belief? This is one of the most fundamental pieces of building brand success, and yet it is often overlooked by many organizations and even the branding agencies that serve them. To answer this question, we must first ask ourselves:
What’s the difference you want to make in the world?
Knowing what kind of difference you want to make in the world is how it starts. This is where you define your Brand Belief, your North Star that will guide EVERYTHING your organization does. Next, you must invest your time and energy to define how your brand will behave through the way you communicate, your culture, your customer experience, your marketing, and so on. Everything you do is an opportunity to walk your talk … to inspire others to believe as you do … to actually make a difference in the world.
It’s easy to talk about what your brand stands for; to tell the world what separates you from your competition, but the proof is always in the pudding (actions). Good or bad, authentic or not, individual or brand – the belief down in the well of your heart will always come up in the bucket of your behaviors. As you and your team rally around your specific set of beliefs and turn them into brand behaviors, you offer your customers the greatest gift you can give them. You provide them with the opportunity to be a part of something bigger – a desire that is at the heart of every human being.
Read more from this series The Heart of Brand Success: