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What is Brand Adoption and How Do You Get It?

By Kristy Gulsvig

It’s the pinnacle of a successful brand strategy: that magical point where your employees, customers, the media, and anyone who has contact with your company is able to clearly describe your brand in the same way. We call that point “brand adoption” – a term that gets thrown around casually, even though it takes extreme care and planning to achieve it. Although there are very few brands who can truly reach that ideal level of brand adoption, it’s a goal that we all strive for, and there are three cardinal rules to get your company on the right track.

3 Cardinal Rules of Brand Adoption

1. Understand the brand: This may seem like a given, but the scenario in which a company’s CEO — or even the marketing department — misunderstands or can’t fully describe the brand is all too common. If you can’t succinctly articulate what your company’s differentiating value proposition is, it’s probably time to sit down and take a long hard look at what your customers truly want from you.

2. Talk about the brand: It’s wonderful if you and your marketing department can describe your brand. But unless you spread that information around, it’s not doing you any good. Make sure you’re regularly communicating about the brand to your entire employee and customer base. Consider weaving it into a theme that you can use throughout all forms of events and communications.

3. Live the brand: Think about your company’s day-to-day operations — manufacturing, customer service, sales, advertising, etc. Does your organization truly deliver on your brand promise on a day-to-day basis? Consistently living the brand is necessary to create external brand adoption. Unless your customers experience your brand in a consistent way, you can’t expect them to believe the story you’re telling. So if your brand experience and your brand message are not matching up, you have a decision to make. Are you going to adjust your brand to fit your operations? Or adjust your operations to fit your brand?

Over time, if your brand is clearly and consistently defined and executed, internal and external brand adoption can become a powerful tool to build your company’s awareness and reputation.

Do you follow the three cardinal rules of brand adoption? Do you have other rules to share?