The business world is full of stories about how companies grow and expand because they deliver on their brand promise. We love to look at big name brands as shining examples of solid branding. But let’s be honest – as we’ve interacted with those and hundreds of other brands, haven’t we been disappointed?

Maybe your latest visit to the Apple Genius Bar® was frustrating, or your Starbucks® barista still can’t get your regular order right. And let’s not even talk about cable service providers!

These examples represent little incidents – and they aren’t going to keep us from the latest smart phone, our favorite coffee, or this week’s must-see TV. But we file them away – and at some point our internal scales are going to tip and our loyalty will shift. But it doesn’t have to.

Your brand promise is the experience your customers expect when they interact with your company. All companies have a brand promise—but only some deliver consistently on it.

Your brand promise is the experience your customers expect when they interact with your company. All companies have a brand promise—but only some deliver consistently on it.

What we’ve learned about branding, culture and performance.

Over the past 20+ years, MBM has been retained to develop, assess and refresh brands for companies in a wide range of industries. Some have found themselves stagnating and need a turnaround. Others are doing well and want to do more to grow their business.

In our work, we listen to everyone in a company. We follow initial in-depth discussions with senior leadership to hearing from management, administration, and frontline staff. Through this we found that we were hearing thoughtful, impactful insights that weren’t related to what you’d consider “traditional branding.” We were hearing about strengths and gaps in culture, operations, internal communications, and processes.

These valuable insights aren’t reaching the top level of company management. Staff is reluctant to convey what they see every day – but what they see can be powerful.

What has us thinking today?

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Are you hearing everything you need to make informed decisions?

When we talk with your people about your brand, we build a special rapport, and create an environment where they feel comfortable sharing critical insights they wouldn’t otherwise share with leadership.

This opportunity to be consulted on something as important as their employer’s brand can instantly raise morale – people are relieved to share their insights, and they feel heard.

These insights are as much a part of brand as any logo or tagline – they’re critical to your company’s ability to deliver on its brand promise, which is the heart of the value and sustainability of the brand.

And you’re not going to hear these insights from anyone else.

At MBM, we look at the strengths and gaps in how you deliver on your brand promise. And then we provide you with the strategies and resources to build on the strengths and close the gaps, creating a stronger, more sustainable, and profitable brand.

In 1989, consultant Sidney Yoshida presented a study known as the “Iceberg of Ignorance.” His work revealed that at Japanese automaker Calsonic, frontline workers knew about 100% of the problems facing the company. Above the frontline, supervisors knew about 74% of the issues, middle managers knew about 9%. Senior managers knew about only 4% of the problems in their own organization.

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In 1989, consultant Sidney Yoshida presented a study known as the “Iceberg of Ignorance.” His work revealed that at Japanese automaker Calsonic, frontline workers knew about 100% of the problems facing the company. Above the frontline, supervisors knew about 74% of the issues, middle managers knew about 9%. Senior managers knew about only 4% of the problems in their own organization.

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When are you NOT putting out fires? A Forbes article suggests employees may resist bringing you a problem because they perceive you’re putting out bigger fires.

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How many people actually tell the CEO the truth?

Everything impacts brand – and the more direct customer interaction your people have, the more they see how customers actually experience your brand. And your frontline people will likely never tell you what they’re seeing. At best, they’ll tell a manager, who will tell a supervisor…and if it even makes it up the ladder to you, the message will have changed dramatically (remember the old telephone game?). But within the context of talking about “brand,” they will tell MBM.

When are you NOT putting out fires? A Forbes article suggests employees may resist bringing you a problem because they perceive you’re putting out bigger fires.

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The “Rebranding” Myth

You’re a really great organization with a great success record, and yet something’s missing – maybe you want to…

  • Increase Sales
  • Increase Staff
  • Increase Awareness
  • Increase Competitive Positioning
  • Increase Loyalty
  • Increase Profit
  • Increase Morale
  • Enhance Reputation

The rebranding myth: “When all else fails to ignite a stagnant brand, it’s time to rebrand.” Here’s the reality:

You’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into making your company successful. When your company stagnates, rebranding with a new logo or web site doesn’t solve it. In fact, you’re repeating work that’s already been done, wasting valuable time and money, confusing the marketplace and frustrating your team.

As one consultant recently quipped, “Rebranding is like saying ‘I want to be more productive’ and thinking that changing my shirt is going to make all the difference.”

There are people on your team who know what’s holding you back – they just don’t know how to tell you. MBM listens to your people, learns where the strengths and gaps are, and offers solutions from our experiences.

The Rebranding Myth

For many creative agencies, a “rebrand” means changing everything from your logo to your website—maybe even your name. We strongly disagree. Your brand is who you are, how you got to where you are and why you keep pursuing your dreams. Why would you want to change that?! Your external image may need some tweaks or polishing– but first let us find the strengths and gaps in delivering your brand promise to make sure everything’s in line and moving in the right direction.


According to Inc. Magazine, about 70% of customers’ buying decisions are based on positive human interactions. Add to this the fact that 83% of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from services and information which are created and delivered by people. The bottom line is that people buy from people, not companies. So, your people—and the performance they deliver—are a vital competitive advantage for your organization.

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Uncovering gaps & strengths can have a huge impact on delivering your brand.

Take a look at these stories that illustrate how that often your employees aren’t the problem, but they can fix your problems:

How the Apple Store fell from Grace.

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How Mercedes Benz Engaged Empolyees to Delight Customers.

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According to Inc. Magazine, about 70% of customers’ buying decisions are based on positive human interactions. Add to this the fact that 83% of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from services and information which are created and delivered by people. The bottom line is that people buy from people, not companies. So, your people—and the performance they deliver—are a vital competitive advantage for your organization.

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We ask 6 painless questions.

It’s disciplined. And it’s built just for you.

Our initial phase, called Brand Alignment, is conducted with senior leadership. We begin with a discussion of goals and metrics with you and your most senior team. We independently review any recent work you’ve done on your brand positioning, competitive analysis, and marketplace opportunities – we’re not here to waste your time or money repeating efforts.

Then we conduct separate interviews with you and up to five additional key leaders. We ask six painless questions about your positioning and company strengths and gaps – all focused on your brand and its promises.

Then we analyze what we’ve found and deliver a three-page Findings Document with actionable strategic recommendations. This process takes no more than nine weeks.

As informative as that initial phase can be, we can deliver even more value and insight in our Brand Assessment Phase by asking these same six questions of all individuals at every level of your company, because every voice matters. You tell us if there are any subjects you want to avoid, and we promise to avoid them.

Some conversations will be via teleconference (no more than an hour), some by phone, and some—especially if you have a large organization—via electronic survey. They’re all strictly confidential.

In all, this phase will take two to three weeks to complete, followed by five or six weeks for us to analyze everything we’ve heard. Then we’ll come back to you with three to five pages of insights and recommendations for how to build on your strengths and close your gaps.

As you move forward with strategic changes, we’ll stay with you and meet with you quarterly to track back to the original goals we’ve agreed upon. And we’ll discuss with you our Brand Optimization and Brand Maximization Phases, which can give you even deeper insights into aligning your brand.


In a 2016 Medallia Institute survey, 56% of frontline employees said they have suggestions for improving company practices, and 43% said their insights could reduce company costs. Yet, a third said they were surveyed once a year or less, and more than half said employers weren’t asking the right questions.

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Who you’ll work with.

Maggi Beckstoffer

With over 30 years in the marketing strategy and branding world, Maggi brings experience and insight to the conversation. Her passion is helping leaders connect and succeed. That inspired her to develop a unique process to ensure brand alignment. She’s smart, funny, and has an inherent sense of openness and empathy.

Kurt Steinbock

Kurt’s entire career has been in the creative side of marketing. He’s seen how important it is for organizations to be aligned top-to-bottom on the promises of their brand. Kurt listens more than he talks. But when he does talk, be prepared for often startling insights.

Courtney Sweasy

Look up ‘tenacious’ in the dictionary, and you’ll find a photo of Courtney. She’s passionate about finding the strengths and gaps in organizations to create stronger, more sustainable brands. She’s humble, intelligent and organized — and relentless when it comes to marketing strategy.

So now what?

Let’s talk — give us a call at 804.405.9401 or e-mail us through the form below.