For me, one of the most interesting bands in the world remains, more than 40 years after they disbanded, The Beatles. Beyond the timelessness of their songs, what is fascinating is the way that today’s young music fans learn about the band.
In most cases, they are initially drawn in by the group’s undeniably catchy pop standards of its early years. But for most, a far more complete appreciation comes with discovery of albums like Rubber Soul and The White Album, which are powerful showcases of the band’s musical range and imagination. That is what transforms them from great to legendary in the minds of music fans.
In much the same way, to maximize their success, today’s global corporations need to ensure that their stakeholders – our very own listeners, in a sense – have a full understanding of the depth and breadth of their brand portfolios.
The crucial first step in doing so is to identify the gaps in understanding through research. At PepsiCo, we learned in our research that when stakeholders associate PepsiCo with six or more brands – including core brands like Pepsi, Lay’s, Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade – our corporate reputation ranking moves up significantly.
Knowing the impact that stakeholder education can have on the value of the corporate brand, we need to use our full range of tools to communicate how the portfolio of different brands, in the end, relates back to the overall corporate story. The key is to express the shared values that carry through all the brands. For PepsiCo, no matter whether it’s Walker’s crisps in the U.K., Quaker oatmeal in the U.S. or Pepsi all over the world, there is a common bond of quality, enjoyable products that are developed sustainably.
It is this story that we tell to stakeholders including consumers, customers, partners, non-profit organizations and others, using the channels at our disposal – traditional and social media, conferences and high-level meetings.
Throughout this process, measurement is critical. It allows us to understand our progress in advancing reputation among our key audiences and importantly, where we need to course-correct when we do not see necessary progress.
The essential principle to remember is that the corporate brand and product brands are not separate, but in fact intimately connected. Their stories need to be told in tandem, grounded by a set of focused, complementary messaging. Only then can global multi-brand corporations become the true rock stars that they have the potential to be.
Senior Vice President, Consumer Relations & Chief Communications Officer,
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