When I first met Michelle Hogan over 25 years ago the first thing I noticed about her was her Australian accent. The second thing I noticed was that she talked about brand like nobody else I’d ever met. She said to me, “Larry, forget about your company’s name, logo, and tagline. Your brand is all about the promises you keep… and those you don’t. It’s about the experience clients are having when they are working with Blue Wing. Focus on that.”

Michelle’s most recent e-book, The Unheroic Work is a compilation of blogs she’s written about discovering and implementing a brand that is authentic, robust, and resilient. The work she describes is “unheroic” because it focuses on a deliberate, day by day attention to the customer experience.

Here are some of the most valuable insights about brand delivery I took from the book:

It’s about identity. At the heart of how you achieve brand result is understanding your organization’s identity – its purpose and values. It’s not about some carefully crafted image or an idealized narrative. If you want to articulate your brand decide on: 1) What you stand for and; 2) The most important thing your business is here to contribute in the world.

It’s a Formula. We can reduce what a brand is to a simple formula that’s easy to understand but not as easy to execute: i x p/e = b. Identity times promises divided by experiences delivers results in your brand. When organizations do the unheroic work of focusing on these three elements, the result is often a robust brand.

It Involves Deep Work. It’s easy to have one’s attention hijacked by what Michelle calls “shiny things” – a new opportunity, an intriguing idea, email, or the latest customer complaint. But really smart organizations have the ability to concentrate on the hard things. The “hard things” include holding up to the light your promises, strategies, policy decisions, etc. and asking: Does this help us achieve our purpose? Is it aligned with our values?

It’s the Little Things that Matter. A few years ago I hired a contractor to lead a number of projects. I noticed that clients were expressing dissatisfaction even though I knew this person to be extremely smart and capable. Eventually, I realized that I had failed to communicate to the contractor the “little things” clients have come to expect of Blue Wing that defines the client experience. It led me to write a document called “Little Things that Define the Blue Wing Brand.” Now I use that document when hiring new contractors.

The Unheroic Work contains a treasure trove of profound insights and practical suggestions for developing a robust and successful brand from the inside-out.

What is the core experience that you deliver that keeps your clients committed to your brand?

Photo Credit: James Lee

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