The two words that describe a strong brand

If you want to measure how strong your brand is, there are two questions you need to ask.

Topic – Brand YOU

Mentor – Rob Ward

  • Strategic partnerships
  • Your people have a responsibility to the brand
  • New initiatives become easier to introduce

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Kevin:   This week, our topic, our conversation is about brand, and we’re joined by Rob Ward, from Di Jones. Ron, can I just ask you, what you would see as the benefits of a strong, of building a strong brand? And how powerful can it be, in helping you build your business?

Rob Ward:   Well, I think the benefits of building a strong brand, the two words that come to mind is, “reliability,” and “trust.” Once you’ve built a strong brand, and people recognise it, they know they’re going to have a reliable, consistent experience. That builds cred and trust with the customers in the marketplace, and they feel confident in referring business to you, because no one wants refer business to a friend, that they think they’re going to have a bad experience.

Rob Ward:   So, if they have a good experience, and they’ve seen it consistently over time, and the brand’s built that power, then they feel confident talking to their friends about it.

Kevin:   Strategic partnerships are very important, too, in building your business, and I guess the brand helps you attract that, and develop those partnerships, as well.

Rob Ward:   Yeah, that’s really key. It’s something we’ve really focused on at Di Jones is, trying to think about who our customer is, their demographics. What sort of magazines they might read, where they might live, what sort of cars they drive, and making sure we align ourselves with strategic partners in other areas, such as furniture or motor vehicles, where they also might be shopping, so they can see our brand aligned with those.

Rob Ward:   I’ll give you one example. We have a very strong relationship with a company called Coco Republic, in Sydney. They’re purveyors of very fine furniture and styling. And that’s been a great relationship, because we have a lot of similar customers, and they strive for the same things the Di Jones brand strives for, one of which is excellence.

Kevin:   You talked about loyalty, creating customer loyalty, having people come to you, understanding what the brand’s going to be about. Let’s look internally, because it’s also a very powerful tool for helping guide those internal decision-making processes, isn’t it?

Rob Ward:   Yeah, definitely. Look, one of the things internally we have, because I’m very passionate about making sure we keep the brand consistent, and that each person in the office has a responsibility to the brand, and we have a thing, we implement a thing called Brand Busters, where people see something that’s perhaps not on brand, not on our values, not aligned with our strategic vision and purpose, they can report it through.

Rob Ward:   It’s not a dobbing in and then get your mate in trouble. It’s that we all need to work in the same direction, roll in the same direction, because we believe that consistency and taking the brand to the marketplace is really important, and that we all stand for the same thing.

Kevin:   Does it help you also roll out any new products or innovations that you want to bring into the business?

Rob Ward:   Yeah, definitely. When you get a group of people who actually believe in it, then rolling out new initiatives is a lot easier, that’s for sure, and over the last two years, coming into a business that was 24 years old, the brand, when I took the helm … Coming in, and trying to implement change, or, I prefer to use the word “evolution” than change, because it makes people feel a little bit more comfortable.

Rob Ward:   But when you’re trying to evolve, people don’t tend to like change, but when you can get them singing from the same hymn book, people use that term, and believing in the brand … the evolution and change is a lot easier.

Kevin:   Another aspect to this, too, of building a strong brand is the value that it brings to your company. I guess you are a classic example. What I was going to talk about here was attracting talent, attracting capital, attracting people to your business. I mean, you were attracted to Di Jones, because of the brand, and its alignment with your own principles. It adds value.

Rob Ward:   Yeah, it adds value, and I think, identifying what you stand for, building that, and then, you attract other like-minded people, if you’re very clear on what you stand for. I talked earlier about making sure, whilst you can put your brand out there, it’s making sure you realise what you’re promising. You can say one thing, but your actions are really important, and when you actually betray that to the market, and you act on it, you actually attract people who are like-minded.

Rob Ward:   To be in a group of like-minded people together, Kevin, is really key. Because it makes it a lot faster to get to where you want to go.

Kevin:   We’re helping your brand, identify your brand, this week with Rob Ward. Tomorrow, Rob, I’d like to ask you about the questions, to help us understand how we build the brand, what the brand should look like, some of those key questions. We’ll do that tomorrow morning. Rob, thank you very much for your time.

Rob Ward:   Thanks again, Kevin.


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