Monday, May 21, 2012

Recipe for a Great Tasting Brand: It's More than the Frosting

“If the cake is bad, what good is the frosting?”
If you want to serve the most delicious cake, you need to carefully pick the right ingredients – and worry about the frosting last.

The same is true when building your brand.  We at the Garden Media Group know it's important not to be too concerned with the frosting – how you look on the outside. Fancy logos, slick marketing messages, lots of “friends” are all just frosting on the cake.

If you aren’t good on the inside – your customers may be left with a bad taste in their mouths when employees serve them a less than delicious slice of the cake.

To make sure that you are more than just the icing on the cake, you must first have a great recipe for a strong internal brand. Here are the ingredients to make the best cake and frosting:

Ingredients for a Great Brand Cake:
1. One clear vision of who you are
2. One unified brand culture
3. Gallons of consistent and extraordinary brand experiences
4. Dozens of passionate brand heroes - both internal and external

Directions for Baking

Step 1: Pre-heat Oven to Shared Vision
Ignite employees around a shared vision so each can take an active role in making it a reality. Decode your DNA into what are your corporate values, what is your purpose and what is your vision for the future. Every grower or garden center has a unique story to tell. Honestly assess who you are. Ask yourself:
  • What core values define us?
  • What makes us truly different from our competition?
  • What guides our vision, voice and foundation for the future?

Step 2: Mix your vision with employees
Now write down the ingredients of your vision and spread it evenly among employees. Have no secret ingredients - be transparent and share the recipe with employees who become your ‘sous chefs’ making and baking that shared vision. Mix all ingredients with employees so they blend together, actively taking a role in making the vision a reality. Stir constantly to empower everyone to do his or her personal best

Step 3: Add great talent
Select the best ingredients by identifying loyal employees. Then  identify the next generation of leadership and fold them into the mix. Add talent that is smarter – spicier, sweeter - than you and complements your culture. Infuse a sense of “self-rising” in your employees, encouraging them to “rise to the top”. Next seek out and blend your company champions into your culture, mix with your purpose and inspire them to help you achieve your vision.

Step 4: Sprinkle with Lots of Details
Liberally combine all details – every ingredient makes a difference, and mix to a smooth consistency and silky effectiveness. Pepper every customer touch point with who you are – and what you stand for. Watch out for lumps – those small bubbles like unfriendly staff, dirty bathrooms, and unstocked shelves - can leave a bad taste and make your brand flop

Step 5: Stir Every Decision with Vision
Fold in every decision based on what supports the vision and is best for the brand. Don't change the recipe. Do what supports your vision in both the short and long term. Don't ruin the cake with ingredients - ideas, people or resources - that aren’t in your recipe. Stir your focus only with what is right for you and your clients.

Step 6: Bake 24/7
Take no short cuts. Whatever you promise to deliver, give it to them. Regularly check the cakes temperature with internal checks and balances and welcome feedback, even if it is negative. If your customers have a bad taste in their mouths, address it immediately. Eliminate any ingredients that could lead to a bad review.

Now add the frosting and serve it with a smile!

Garden Media Group

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