Unleash your brand pride—and watch it grow

Mike Panagako

Maybe it’s your family. Your friends. Your heritage. It could be your hometown, your school, or your sports teams. Or maybe it’s your own accomplishments, or social movements you’re a part of.

What are the things that engender a sense of pride in your life and why? 

And without getting too heady, can brands invoke or evoke a sense of pride?  We believe they can—and that activating brand pride can inspire people, ignite company culture, and bond teams together in a shared purpose. 

The best-performing brands all have this effect—yet conjuring pride within a workforce can seem elusive. 

In our experience, brands perform along the following scale.

  • Ambivalence: Your brand adds no value. It’s just wallpaper, a cheap label on your product or service. People inside and outside of your organization see no advantage.
  • Awareness: Your brand is known, people inside the organization can robotically repeat some vague mission statement or recite company values. But they don’t mean anything to anybody, and they certainly don’t have a meaningful impact on people’s jobs or the performance of the organization.
  • Engagement: People understand how the brand stands for something, and they bring elements of it into their daily lives. For example, maybe annual reviews incorporate some of the company’s values into performance ratings, and there’s an understanding within the organization that they’re important.
  • Brand pride: When a brand ignites pride inside and outside of the organization, performance takes off. People are excited to go to work and motivated to go the extra mile. A purpose unites departments and offices throughout the organization. And best of all, customers feel it, and this creates brand loyalty.

So why is brand pride so elusive? And what can organizations do to nurture and foster it?

Since I’m writing a blog post and not a book, I’d like to offer three best practices, each wrapped in a spring pun (because spring is way too short here in Boston).

Tear the weeds out: Throw out pages of HR jargon and focus on a simple, powerful, and meaningful brand purpose. Pare down your company values into a handful of true, authentic statements. Don’t expect teams to memorize a lengthy vision statement, with a mission statement, a brand promise, a “true north,” or a “core brand truth.”  Turn these statements into a simple brand purpose that can serve as a foundation inside and outside of your organization.

Water regularly: While measuring brand pride for a recent client, it emerged that the recruiting and onboarding process features an immersive brand experience, as new colleagues are encouraged to learn about the brand, what it stands for, and how it will impact their job. Then, after day one, the brand purpose is never seen or heard from again!  Ongoing employee engagement is the fuel that powers brand pride.

Watch it grow from the ground up: How can you ensure your team believes your brand purpose to be authentic? Let it come from them—and not you. Values workshops should include your team members, and the creation of your purpose should come from your people, rather than from a board room. When your purpose and values spring up from the grassroots of your organization, your people will feel like they’re an integral part of your brand, rather than just agents of it.

We help organizations uncover and ignite brand pride because we know what it has the power to do—from uniting employees and creating loyalty to driving performance and boosting sales.

And if you’ve read this far and want to dig even deeper into the mechanics of Brand Pride, check out the proprietary BrandPQ™ insights platform. But we also practice what we preach. And after our own rebranding effort, we’ve seen what it’s done for us, it’s made us feel Ten Feet Tall. 

About the author

Mike Panagako

Mike is one of Ten Feet Tall's three founding partners, with a career on the client side before jumping over to agency life 17 years ago. Mike is a brand strategist at heart, with deep experience in destination brands and professional services.

unleash your brand pride