By: Zeinab Farock
A successful brand needs a clear and well-established process to maintain steady growth. But the brand needs to preserve its image and reputation within customers’ mind to grow. Different approaches have been made, but the Brand Brain Trust has been adopted by the major brands as a successful approach.
The Origin of The Term Brand-Brain Trust
The term brand brain trust was first established during the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidential period (1882-1945). It was called after the group of the Roosevelt political consulting group. But decades later this concept broadened beyond political consultation to include almost any type of consultation for any type of business.
Who Can be Positioned as The Brand Brain Trust?
A group of people who have the ability to interpret the current situation and make a connection between intelligence, feeling and thoughts of problems that are faced by the company. Their main role is as an advisory or a consultant but they don’t force their opinions and thoughts over other team members. The aim is to preserve the company reputation while the process is to lead the company to :
- Better outcomes in terms of reputation
- Customer trust and interaction
- Increasing sales
- Launching a successful product
A Company’s reputation means everything to the brand and thus needs to be taken seriously. The company reputation is usually mixed up with the brand. While both share their goal to improve perceptions and both are defined externally by communication. Hence we define reputation as the company’s cumulative track record, up to date, it is an accumulation of taken actions and statements. Here some points to differentiate:
-Built to preserve your credibility and trust
-Fragile once lost can’t be restored
-Built to get the most returns
Consumers perceive the products of famous brands as better than those less famous brands.
What If A Brand Brain Trust Is Missing In The Company System?
We all know about brands like Apple and Samsung plus other famous Asian mobile brands such as Oppo and Huawei. But before 2005 the mobile market was dominated by the Finnish mobile company NOKIA; it was a pioneer for innovation in telecommuting technology and had been the first brand for phones in terms of design, quality, camera, phone gaming and more. To make it easier to understand, it was popular and just as expensive as the iPhone nowadays.
But since the iPhone’s release, the company started to lose sales. NOKIA had tried to invest in touch screens and even was the pioneer in adding tools like the touch screen pen, it even raised the quality of its camera and added other attractive features. All those changes looked fantastic and promised to have people loyal, but none of that had been. Something was overlooked in NOKIA strategy, it is not about the brand itself but it is about the people’s urgent needs, which can change in a matter of days.
People were converting to iPhone, they found an easier software to use in iPhone, easier than Microsoft. People’s preference was a thing that NOKIA resisted admitting, and it took the company years to acknowledge it. That ignorance contributed to the public cynicism about the company and felt as a disconnected attempt from the public. This un-insightful attempted results in the end to lose the reputation of the company as the leading mobile brand. Was all of that going to happen if NOKIA listened to customers’ opinions and thoughts? What if the company had expected the problem and worked on it ahead before it happened? But how is that even possible to establish?
What Could Be Done To Avoid The Tragedy?
Companies that are in the public domain need to watch for the public opinions, thoughts, and trending ideas to manage their perception amongst the customers, both the negative and the positive perception. When a brand has research tools to help predict the problems, it will save a lot of struggle and distrust to the company in future. A good example of managing the public perception of the brand is Nike managing strategy.
In the late 1980s, Nike began what was called “brand strength monitoring”, it was a research survey pool for the opinion and feelings of the public about Nike, it holds every four-month with aim of monitoring people’s thoughts and feelings about the brand. The survey result worked every time as a key element in Nike’s relationship with customers. Brand perception gives an insight into upcoming issues caused by people’s perception of the company and its policy; it raises a red flag to act fast and avoid losing the company reputation. The key role in this process was given to the brand internal brain trust group, or what was called then the Nike guardian group. Other leading brands had followed the same process to monitor their perception in the community and build long term interaction with the customers.
A successful company needs research tools to help its Brand Brain Trust (BBT) to see the damage before it happens and make key decisions. An insightful decision will preserve the company reputation and help the steady growth of the business because a strong brand needs a strong reputation to attract more clients, investors, and customers.
Brand Brain Trust Research Tools
There are different approaches to research the problem before it happens. Research helps the brands make a prediction of the market future and the customers loyalty. Some of these tools can be done through:
1. Using online/Market survey
2. Asking questions like:
- -How much are you satisfied with the quality of service?
- -Do you recommend our service to other people?
3. Analysing the social media comments and the chatty messages
4. Managing media
The media and social platforms media content can be disastrous if ignored. Unpleasing viral contents about the brand can hit the company reputation and result in a major loss for the brand.
How Pixar Achieves An Epic Success For Each Of Its Films?
Pixar had synonymized its name to successful film production. Pixar is a well known American animation production studio. In the last decades, Pixar has released many successful films that score high in the CinemaScore with a minimum of A-. Movies like Soul, Coco, Inside Out, Finding Nemo, Monster, Toys Story and others are some of the very successful movies by Pixar. The company has a positive perception within the audience and that what a professional brand should be successful at.
The strategy that followed by the company was to make everyone who is part of the film creation to give their instinct, thoughts and feeling in notes format. The notes got some characteristics related to it, like
- Own thoughts and feeling
- An informative
- Not demanding
- Good notes to the current situation
- Not too late to fix the problem
These notes weren’t forced to be applied by writers, graphic designers or directors. The people who were in charge had the authority to use these notes and worked on the improvement as much as they found it useful. The success of the film was the responsibility of the movie director. Thus Pixar created a no-demanding or controlling the environment for its employees that provides a creative environment for filmmakers. It builds a Brain trust environment to exchange thoughts and ideas.
The Brain Trust Executed Several Things For Pixar:
– An Interactive Environment:
It helped the teams to share and exchange ideas and thoughts in more confident and informal ways.
– Free Space To Express
The brain trust allowed team members to remark their thoughts, instinct and emotion as well as their feelings without feeling any restriction.
– Improving Ideas
It works as a basic principle to reshape rough ideas and polish them into a great experience
– Created A Basic Principle For Notes
It determines what constitutes a good or helpful note.
– Focus On Goals
Brain trust helps the team to stay focused on the big goal-successful film- and avoid wasting effort and resources for unimportant parts of the film.
The same concept can be applied to different business models and brands in which the company effort is not well directed on the main target of the company or brand, the goal is the big picture. For example, NOKIA had tried several approaches to solve its phones down sales but none of that made any change, at the end the company struggled too much to survive in the market.
– Project Success
The brain trust approach helped to predict different situations and risks, because of different thoughts and feelings proposed by the team members. That helped to create high-quality projects in the entertainment industry.
– Build A Steady Growth
A successful process like a Brain trust session means to Pixar as well other brands:
- High ratio of success
- Strong team
- Solid brand image
Brands need a brain trust to build and preserve their reputation and perception in the mind of customers. It brings insight into the invisible issues and will help to bring the best result to the project. A team of experienced people are the brain trust of the company, they work as a consultant for the projects, and they should be part of the project as an expert. Brain trust has shown to be the best interactive approach for brands growth and company reputation.