We believe that a brand’s strength springs from the core values that the company stands for. So in addition to thoroughly studying the consumer, the category, and the competitive environment, at Palazzo Creative we use proprietary techniques to identify those core values early in our relationship. A strong brand is based on what you are, or something that you legitimately can aspire to be. Once we have identified those core values and developed a strategy, we think about internal communications as much as external communications. We believe that a company’s employees must be convinced of and committed to the values that make their company special. We create branding communications that speak to everyone on the “inside” first so they know and understand the role they must play in the life of the brand.

In our experience, most companies do a poor job of informing their employees about the relevant messages and values that will make their brand succeed. They don’t share the external messages they will be sending about their brand, and they don’t train and coach their employees to live the brand every day. A notable exception to this is McDonald’s. Every owner and manager must attend Hamburger University in Chicago, where they not only learn the operational aspects of running a franchise; they also study the importance of providing a consistent experience for the customer. Few customers would say that McDonald’s makes the best hamburgers, but the company continues to succeed in the fast food marketplace in part because the customer knows what to expect. No matter where they are in the world. This devotion to consistency was most apparent when McDonald’s entered the Russian marketplace. McDonald’s execs felt that native Russian potatoes did not deliver the same crispness and flavor that McDonald’s is famous for serving. So they delayed their introduction into Russia for two years, imported their own seed potatoes, and waited until they got it right before opening the first restaurant. That famous business story is a great testament to the power and need for consistently delivering on every aspect of the brand promise.