Building Your Brand from the Inside Out Essay

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Building Your Brand From The Inside Out Originally printed in American Marketing Management Journal April 2002 Brand promise can win customers. Keeping them requires delivering on that promise. By Donald T. Tosti and Rodger D. Stotz Historically, branding work has focused on the external communication and support of the brand, creating the image, and defining and delivering the promise. In a relatively stable business environment, that usually worked. Organizations had time to figure out how to consistently deliver on their brand promise, adjust to changes in the marketplace, or correct errors. However, in an environment where change is the norm, and time to respond or recover is very limited, internal branding requires the same attention as external branding. The results of internal branding efforts have been mixed, but some successes are worth noting. Take for example an airline that introduced a new approach to customer service by focusing on the special needs of its passengers, especially business travelers. This helped the company build a reputation for service that far exceeded its expectations. Competitors quickly tried to copy this by going so far as to measure the seats in the airline’s business class and change color schemes in their planes. Their efforts missed the mark, however, because their changes were limited to visible features of the service and not to the cabin crews and ground staff who actually deliver the service. Similarly, a real estate management company has created a new branded service offering based on input from its tenants. The company treats its renters like they are part of a community and gets its staff involved as well. As a result, the company is producing profit margins twice the industry average. A bank, which has recently begun an internal branding effort, already has improved its understanding of the brand promise at all

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