Building Brands from the Inside-Out

Inside-Out Brand Building

Air India is back with the Tata Group now. 

More than bringing a business under their fold, Tatas understand every organisation functions with its own set of operating values. And the key to successful onboarding would be to integrate people – in this case, at both Air India and Tata.

People focus has been a core value at Tata companies, and it comes from the robust foundations laid by JamsetJi Tata during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Being a keen learner, he would pick ideas and best practices during his business tours and implement them.

When JamsetJi set up textile mills introduced sickness and pension benefits to employees. This was something unheard of at those times. 

The brand that Tatas have built has its strong roots in the company philosophy and core values. They knew more than a century ago that building a strong inside is what is necessary to build a reputed and respected company. They clearly took the inside-out route to brand-building.

What's inside-out brand building?

A brand is basically the sum of all interactions with the company. It is the perception of your company in the mind of the customer. Despite popular understanding, it is not just marketing and external communications.

So if the brand plays such an important role in the buyer’s journey, how do we go about building it? 

There are 2 approaches to brand building:

Actions and decisions taken by the company originate from a core purpose, are values-driven, and the people in the organisation are aligned to build the desired brand collectively.

A market need is identified and the brand is positioned as the solution to that need. The approach is to organise the company’s systems, processes, and people with the objective of catering to that need.

Do you need to pick any one approach? No, this is not an either/or. In my opinion, both are needed.

Many business owners limit their brand to an outside-in approach. The brand’s personality – fancy logos, websites, investment in packaging, and promotion get heavy attention. And rightly so, as this increases their visibility and thus sales.

The problem with adopting only an outside-in approach is that the brand experience may not be consistent with the brand perception being created. This dissonance can be noticed via various indicators – quality issues, people problems, process breakdowns.

A better and more effective way to begin brand building is from the inside. The inside-out approach ensures the foundations of the brand are in place and the organisation is driven by the core philosophy. The leaders understand that brand is the collection of all experiences and carefully craft the message around the company identity. The company invests in their people understanding the vision and values of the company.

Which Approach to Take?

Consider both approaches as being on a spectrum with inside-out and outside-in at either extremes. The companies that take an inside-out approach stands out in the marketplace for different reasons than the ones that tend heavily on the outside-in end of the spectrum.

In today’s age, it’s necessary to adopt a balanced approach to meet business objectives while also reducing the chances of brand dissonance.

To know which approach suits your company, give us a shout.

About The Author
Vinod Krishna

Vinod Krishna is a brand storytelling trainer and consultant at DustyPaths.
He brings 3 decades of experience in leading people, projects, and businesses
to forge new paths in brand storytelling and leadership development.
He is an avid barefoot runner, trekker, theater artist, and photographer.
Connect with him on LinkedIn