September 27, 2019
Considering the evolution of branding in today's sophisticated and very social world, most savvy business leaders know that brand is not just a logo or a website. Most corporate leaders understand the identity of brand goes deeper than the visual expression of it. Understanding the importance of the entire brand experience is critical to your overall business strategy, and that includes the trucking industry.
Brand is the gut feeling we get when we think of an organization, product or service. Brand guru, Marty Neumeier who coined that phrase is also famous for saying, "brand is not what you say it is, it is what they say it is".
Surprising to some, it is the external world that decides what your brand is and although that is intimidating, there is a lot you can do to help shape that perception. Considering the sacrifices and challenges that truck drivers and fleet managers are faced with every day, automated tools like efficient payment systems and fuel cards can make all the difference in the hectic life in the logistics arena. It speaks to the how people are treated within the company and that is the most significant reflection of brand because that shows culture.
Companies are also focusing on what differentiates them not only based on the service they provide, but also on what they stand for.
Jane Naillon from See Jane Brand Strategy has discovered that with so many choices available in our lives, consumers are not making decisions based on the function of the product alone. They are making emotional choices based on trust and relationship. Businesses and individuals alike are asking themselves, "Do our own values as consumers or business leaders align with the values of a company with which we choose to partner or purchase?"
Products and services like fleet cards and fuel savings were developed to make the job of a driver more streamlined and efficient but their effort in doing so goes beyond the product function, showing empathy, efficiencies and respect for driver commitment and fleet sacrifices.
In addition, companies are beginning to realize that consumers are making choices based on the perception of company culture. It is becoming more and more critical to make sure your company has a clear and articulated set of company values and cultural beliefs. That process starts with the internal team.
Naillon from See Jane Brand Strategy, has also concluded that engaging your internal team is critical in presenting an authentic brand experience. If your internal team does not understand or talk about your brand in the way you have intended, it will be impossible for your external audiences to perceive the brand in the way you would like. Brand is built from the inside out so make sure that you provide a culture that the inside can embrace.
In the trucking industry, brand can be many things, not the least of which the name on the side of the vehicle. Because of a severe driver shortage in the transportation and logistics industry, companies are doing all they can to attract drivers and that means offering more than just a paycheck. They are offering a rich culture with clear benefits.
D&D transportation services Inc., out of Gooding, Idaho believes that company culture is one of the most important components in their business strategy. D&D Vice President, Jennifer Graves said, "We treat every team member with the same level of respect and provide mentorship and training across all functions so that we can work better as a team by understanding the position that everyone holds." She also says that as a family run business, they recognize the importance of a work life balance for staff and drivers. The company makes it a priority to route drivers to specific locations close to home, so they can be with their families for the holidays. She goes on to say, "At the end of the day our business is family so family is part of our business."
The added benefit of a culture built on a strong platform is the ability to develop meaningful communications. A strong brand platform should simplify and focus all brand and marketing communications leading back to the brand and enforcing brand equity. Messaging and design will have a foundation to provide real meaning. This communication will differentiate you from your competitors and will provide the emotion and visual appeal that will attract supporters, consumers and employees. Clearly the function of the product or service you provide matters, or your company would not exist. But it is your brand culture and your brand communication that will serve as the driving force in your effort to build a loyal tribe.
Culture is brand and a rich brand culture can make all the difference.