From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Picturing Corporate Relationships

In this Issue:

  1. Forward
  2. Help Others See Value in a Relationship with Your Business
  3. Shameless Self Promotion
    Share Your Executive Relationship Experiences


Today is a grid blogging exercise on branding. I wanted to bring some of the relationship aspects of branding to the table. In today's lesson, I will share with you some relationship aspects of branding as they pertain to how customers and employees see your company.

Read this entire newsletter to find out about a contest where you can share your relationship experiences to win prizes, and learn from others experiences. Anything shared with me will be used to improve the value of this newsletter to you and your organization.

Reply to this message anytime to ask your questions, share comments, or for clarification of any method shared here--I am listening to you. I am wishing you the best in your business.

Respectfully submitted,

Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

Help Others See Value in a Relationship with Your Business

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Brand is defined as a sum of attributes associated with a product, service, or concept, and can include its name, visual presentation, and reputation. Your brand sums up the value of a relationship with your organization as an employee, customer, or potential partner. You can use your brand to establish new relationships and convey value to those who are not yet doing business with you.

Understand that brand has meaning to everyone who interacts with your company; it influences all eight-relationship realms. It is easier to convey your value when you consider both the internal and external aspects of branding. Here are three steps for understanding a brands contribution to conveying relationship value:

  1. While it can be difficult to measure your brand, it does provide a symbolic or representational measure of another person's perception.
    1. People use symbols to organize the world around them. Your corporate logo, office culture, character of employees, and a few thousand visual aspects of your company can function as symbols in the eyes of those around your organization. These symbols help place your company in relation to other experiences of a single observer and together represent your brand.
    2. Brand serves as a mnemonic device to remember complex characteristics.It is difficult to measure experiences, but often simple to ask, "What comes to mind when you hear X?" The variable X represents your company, product, service, or another aspect of your organization that people can interact. To produce the strongest most profitable relationships, the response to this question should be consistent among individuals and independent of which aspect used.
    3. Perception of brand provides a similar meaning to different people.Your brand should convey meaning across cultural and educational backgrounds of those exposed to your company. With a single focused message, reinforced with consistent action, you can grow the positive aspects of this meaning.
  2. Your brand conveys value to those in its proximity, so it is important to associate with interactions that shed positive light on your intended message.
    1. Someone else's brand can lend credibility to your own products. The old saying, "Birds of a feather, Flock together" might not be true in the practical sense, but to an observer, you are judge by the friends you keep. Surround your company with the best of your industry, hire the best employees, and seek the best customers--these decisions will contribute to a positive brand.
    2. The experiences of a few contribute to your perceived value. When you express one message of value, but takes actions in a different direction, those who interact with your company will become confused. Look to grow your accomplishments through the words of satisfied customers and it will be easier to establish a brand others can relate.
    3. Support your brand through people's behavior and quality. The actions of your employees contribute to the perception of value outsiders have in your company. Your products have the same influence as their quality is compared with other competing organizations. A consistent message is required at all customer interaction points to improve your brand value.
  3. If you do not currently have a strong brand that helps other see the value of a relationship with your business, you can create it with consistency in action and message.
    1. To understand your brand they need to experience your company. It is easiest to convey your brand by actually using your product, service, or working directly with your company. Each interaction contributes to a single picture of what you represent. This perception is shaped by the quality of the experience as it meets expectations and fulfills needs.
    2. You must be able to duplicate positive experiences with consistent action.It is important to understand what contributes to a positive experience for each collective relationship realm to which your company interacts. If you keep doing those things that contribute to a positive experience and match those experiences with a unified message of your company, you can create a strong brand.
    3. Use all the senses to create a brand for your company. Symbols can be created from all five senses and are more memorable when created from multiple senses. Seek consistency in the way your company looks, how interactions feel, and how your message sounds. By conveying the value of being in a relationship with your company with multiple senses, you reach more people through their preferred learning style.

A clear brand message guides employees towards corporate objectives, defines how you are treated in a business community, and even draws customers towards your offerings. Brand often infers trust and opens new opportunities with partners who want to build on your credibility. Once you understand what your current brand is saying, you can improve your brand with the right associations and message. How easy is it for people who interact with your company to understand your relationship value?

© 2003 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
/ clearly-communicate | relationship-realms /

Justin Hitt provides solutions to executives interested in building stronger more profitable customer relationships. For a complementary report showing you how to identify better customers to increase profits, visit

Shameless Self Promotion:

Share Your Executive Relationship Experiences

The world seen through your eyes is one of a unique prospective and inspiring lesson to which others many benefit. Your own perspective on executive relationships--what to do, or not to do with building profitable and ethical organizations--is valuable to improve the quality of this newsletter. In 500 words or less, describe your most recent experience where stronger relationships would have improved the outcome of an interaction.

Grand Prize: An entry will be selected at random for a prize of a 45-minute consultation session (good for 6-months a $1,397 value) which includes a complementary digital recording of the session for your records. The first 12 entries receive a 4-pack special report bundle including Get More Customers in Any Economy, Facts about Profitable Customers, plus much more, with a complementary site license (a $1,087 value). Use the license to feature these reports in your corporate newsletter, or even handout reprints for your staff. The grand-prize winner also receives the licensed materials with a digital recording of their consultation session.

Your stories may be incorporated into an upcoming book on strategic relationships for executives and another publication about building relationships with interactive communications. Your name, title, and company name will only be used in the book with your permission. These experiences will also help build the next 12-months of topics for this newsletter.

This is not just a contest, but also an exercise for your key staff to discuss the value of strong customer, employee, or partner relationships in your organization. Invite your employees to share their experiences, and then choose your best relationship situation to send in. Actually, you can enter as many stories as you like as long as each is attributed to a single individual.

Send your entry by email, fax, or postal mail. Include your name, work phone number, company name, and email address with your story up to 500 words with the subject, "Executive Relations Experience Contest"--Email responses to newsletter-contest (at) or Fax +1 (877) 207-3798

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