Your Brand is the essence of who you are. Your Brand is what distinguishes you from your competition. Your Brand offers a distinct set of promises to your customers. And, the performance of your Brand—what it actually delivers—is the single most important asset that your Brand will ever possess. A strong performing Brand—a Brand that is tightly aligned with its Brand promises—is like manna from Brand heaven.

I often get asked, how does that happen…that Promise + Performance thing? How do great Brands do it? Where does their Brand mojo come from? Quite simply, strong Brands stand for something. They are constant, consistent, and deliberate in their actions.

So, how do strong Brands get there? It requires an introspective dive into the innermost reasons of why you exist. It is truly discovering and understanding your distinction, your UVP’s (Unique Value Promises), and then using those promises to drive your performance and create a master plan for how your distinction will be communicated.

Recently I was in a meeting with the Leadership Team of our long-time client Pekin Insurance, a regional P&C/Life carrier we have worked with for six decades. A half a dozen years ago, Hult guided Pekin through a Brand Development initiative, during which time the company’s distinction was codified as: Pekin Insurance goes Beyond the Expected® for their independent agents and policyholders. In this recent meeting, their CEO, Scott Martin, received an email from a member of their management team updating him on an initiative that was in its final stages.

The manager proudly reported on the status of the efforts of his team. He summarized, in some detail, that the sum total of their efforts that had lead this point “lives true to Pekin’s Brand promise to go Beyond the Expected®” and then went on to describe how the anticipated performance of the efforts individually matched up to each and every one of the Pekin Insurance Brand Values that they had adopted as part of their Brand Development process. Wow.

Promise + Performance. Pekin’s Brand Development process unearthed the previously unspoken promise on which the company had built on nearly a century of success. During the discovery phase of our engagement, we heard testimonials that spoke clearly to the company’s unwavering commitment to consistently and constantly go Beyond the Expected®.

As a Certified Brand Strategist (CBS), we use key insights and a wide-range of Brand Discovery methodologies to help our clients discover the truth that lives within their Brand. At the very core, we seek clarity and internal alignment by asking questions in and around these 4 key insights:


  1. Who you are today

It is important to start this process by establishing this baseline. We begin with the leadership team to unearth the multitude of facts about an organization and discover “what you do and how you do it”. By eliminating the facts that do not set you apart, we can find what is truly unique to you. This comes from how you live your Brand every day, and from the stories told by the leadership team, management, staff, and customers.


  1. What you do differently

Discovering what you do differently will set you apart from your competitors, and help customers choose you. Your Claim of Distinction is the combination of tangible and intangible characteristics that make your Brand unique. It’s what consumers think and feel when they interact with your Brand. It’s you, it’s your employees—it’s not your logo.

As a Certified Brand Strategist, I focus my team on helping organizations discover and create strategies to help them continue to advance their distinction in the marketplace. The Brand Establishment is an important part of that process. As the only Brand Strategy Certification body in North America, they focus on Brand like no other organization.

Once your Claim of Distinction is discovered, we work with your organization to ensure it is backed with Evidence of Performance—actually being what you claim to be by living it out every day and clearly communicating it to customers. When this happens, you build trust and Brand loyalty with your customers.


  1. Why you do what you do

Your organization’s “why” is the reason you wake up every morning to do what you do. It’s the true emotion behind your Brand. When you start your Brand Development process by discovering your “why”, it will transform the way your organization views your Brand and will build distinction amongst your competitors.


  1. What you are capable of becoming

Focus inward and align your Business Strategy with your Brand Strategy and your People Strategy. When your organization’s culture backs up the value you are communicating on a daily basis, it provides evidence to customers and builds trust—leading to Brand loyalty. And, it gives your organization to launch forward into even greater endeavors. You use your strong truthful roots (not hype) to build your Brand story for the future. Powerful stuff!

Building your Brand Distinction is important. If you focus on clarity and alignment around these 4 key insights, you will be heading in the right direction. Once your organization can encompass the value of your distinction, it will transform the way you and your team, at every level, view your Brand. And, it will make for a more powerful performance of your Brand. Giddy up.

Hear a story of Brand performance directly from a Pekin Insurance policyholder, Claims Adjuster and Independent of how the Pekin Insurance came through during a catastrophic event and performed Beyond the Expected.



Jim Flynn
President/CEO | Certified Brand Strategist | Speaker
Hult Marketing
Empowering Brand Momentum®