I’ve blogged before about the brand platform. You can click on “Brand Platform” in the Categories section to the right to see this discussion grow throughout 2008. Every company needs a brand platform before beginning the creation of a brand and the branding elements like names, logos and taglines.
So, what drives the business? This question can be considered as part of defining the corporate culture, but it is important enough to be explored separately.
What I mean by that is get down to what functions within the company get priority? What gets funded? Who are the heros and champions within the organization, and what functions do they represent?
I’ve worked for two companies – IBM and Information Handling Services – where the sales department clearly drove the businesses. Though both can be considered “high tech”, at neither company did engineering, product development or R&D influence corporate direction or emphasis very much. The sales force collected data (not market research, sales people) from customers and came back to product development with demands. Development, in turn, set the specs and passed them on to engineering and finally to manufacturing.
I worked for Coors Ceramics where manufacturing called the shots. They pressured the sales department to sell idle capacity and the types of products for which they could enjoy high yields.
For at least one ad agency I worked for, accounting and finance ran the show. Cost accounting and an advanced (for the 1970’s) computer system gave the CFO the upper hand.
Many companies today believe, or at least pay lip service to the belief that customer needs drive the business. This may be true, or it may just be wishful thinking.
In order to determine the truth, you need to really tally up who wins and who loses in the corporate infighting for money, personnel, facilities and praise from the executive board.
Once determined, you have another plank in the brand platform. It’s importance has to do again with credibility – people from outside the organization can perceive the drive in its true perspective better than people within the business can. Also, you may find in this piece of knowledge a way to distinctively differentiate your business.
As they say, the truth will set you free.