What the Heck is a BrandLeader™ Anyway, And Why Should You Care?

September 2011 - Thoughts by Troy Burwell who is CEO of 4 Guys Interactive, a 16-year old Houston-based Web development company that specializes in consistent branding and effective communication across all media.

Brands are everywhere. Some are household names and have been around seemingly forever. Others seem to announce themselves to the world and then just fritter away into nothingness.

Why is that?

How do national brands like Apple, Facebook, and Google seem to launch into orbit (from out of nowhere or their perceived deathbed), while others barely get off the ground (some don't)? Ah, you say, they're national and everyone knows them. What about right here in our own backyard with Houston's own The Breakfast Klub?

All of these brands started out when no one knew them. Each one had to reach out to their audience, their consumers. How did they do that (and keep the attention going) and how did they know to whom to reach out?

They found "BrandLeaders" to go influence and energize others, like cheerleaders for your favorite college football team. What is a "BrandLeader"? This is anyone who is likely to support and encourage others to support a brand, your brand. These are people who create the BUZZ.

How do you find these fervent folks? Finding BrandLeaders starts with a review of your brand values, brand image, brand message, products, and who is most likely to purchase from you. Who is most likely to be enthusiastic about your brand and message?

BrandLeaders are the cornerstones of your community or "tribe," as it's called. The better you know them, the better and more profound their support. Do you know something of their beliefs and values? How about where they hang out or who and what influences them, and who do they influence?

But once you discover what makes up your BrandLeaders, do you know if your brand values are in sync with theirs? Remember perception is reality. If a brand is seen as wasteful, for example, marketing to the "green-friendly" community won't be very fruitful. The brand image and target BrandLeaders' values aren't in sync.

In an attempt to combat the perception of being a wasteful brand, let's say you start a recycling or waste reduction program. After all, this effort will reflect positively on the company's bottom line. Engaging leaders in the Green community to help keep the program accountable shows you are trying, and makes your efforts transparent.

These BrandLeaders see that you share their values and will spread the news of your efforts throughout the tribe/community. Your brand values and image are now in sync with theirs.

Remember, when engaging BrandLeaders, you must be honest and transparent because insincere actions will be discovered. Staying engaged with your community and acting appropriately will be embraced, and keep your brand fresh and favored for a long time.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, 4Guys Interactive provides web development and design services to small, medium, and Fortune 500 clientele. www.4guys.com

X 4Guys Interactive, Inc, 5300 Hollister St. Ste. #111, Houston, TX 77040