Thursday, July 30, 2015

The 8 Characteristics of a Winning Brand Champion



(Who are some of the most visible and effective brand champions in recent years? Check out our featured quiz, "NAME THAT BRAND" at the end of this article).

First, let's be clear:  There can be only one.

(And no, that is not a reference to the "Highlander" movie franchise).

There can be only one champion of any given brand at any one time. There may be gazillions of "brand ambassadors" spreading the joy and wonder of your organization, product or service all over the place. But only one Brand Champion. Please.

Photo:  soundtrackcollector.com
One Brand Champion per brand means one voice, one face, one personality, and one go-to person for influencers, media, customers, and investors. The value of a single, powerful voice is potentially enormous. The reality is you'll be lucky to find even one person who has what it takes to be that voice.

It's not something we like to talk about it, but many organizations are not blessed with a leader who fully "gets" branding, and loves to talk about their company with anyone, anywhere, anytime -- let alone do so with enthusiasm, obvious pride, and total credibility.

The insiders' secret is that Brand Champions are not born. They are made. Often by people like us.

So, what do we look for in a prospective Brand Champion? It boils down to eight characteristics:

1 - C-level role in the organization -- the CEO is always our first draft pick.

2 - Deep knowledge of and pride in the organization, from end to end.

3 - Understands marketing and the bottom line value of the brand.

4 -  Knows the customers -- in every segment.

5 - Intuitive and empathetic, with the ability to read and reach his/her audience

6 - Excellent storyteller, able to communicate complex topics understandably.

7 - Genuinely likes people and enjoys talking with them (vs. at them).

8 - He/she is the Big Picture person with a vision that is based on an ability to read patterns in both the macro- and immediate market environments.

Tall order. Even among the best, very few can lay claim to total mastery of all eight qualities out-of-the-box. This explains why some organizations contract with a celebrity whose image (a.k.a. personal brand) mirrors that of its product, service and business. Even at that, however, the celebrity can only become the "face of the brand," not its champion and certainly not its guardian.

The good news is that, given a willing and savvy CEO, any organization can develop a brand champion with an investment in media, communication, public speaking, and image development training. It works, and some the finest brand champions in recent history are the proof.

As you think further about the advantages of developing a bona fide Brand Champion, it's likely a few iconic champions will come to mind. Want to test your knowledge? Then it's time to play ...


N A M E    T H A T    B R A N D

Can you name the organization for which each of the following have served as its Brand Champion?

Give it a try and let us know how you score.







1.  ……………………………………
Photo:  mastersoftrivia.com

Image result for arianna huffington



2.  ……………………………………
Photo: huffingtonpost.com

Image result for bill gates
Photo: dailymail.co.uk 





3.  ……………………………………


Photo:  telegraph.co.uk




4.  ……………………………………


Image result for lee iacocca





5.  ……………………………………
Photo:  quotationof.com

Image result for meg whitman pcmag






6.  ……………………………………
Photo:  pcmag.com

Image result for warren buffett



7.  ……………………………………
Photo:  businessinsider.com

Image result for indra nooyi





8.  ……………………………………
Photo:  businessinsider.com

Image result for larry ellison








9.  ……………………………………
Photo:  dailytech.com

Image result for ginni rometty





10.  ……………………………………
Photo:  asmarterplanet.com


What was your score? Is there anyone you would add to this quiz? Why?

Let us know -- we'd love to hear from you!





ANSWERS:  1-Jack Welch (GE); 2-Arianna Huffington (AOL/Time Warner, Huffington Post); 3-Bill Gates (Microsoft); 4-Christine Lagarde (IMF); 5-Lee Iacocca (General Motors) 6-Meg Whitman (hp); 7-Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway); 8-Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo); 9-Larry Ellison (Oracle); 10-Ginni Rometty (IBM)


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