by Christine Leuthold
When a brand digs its roots deep into an organization, it goes way beyond logo, lobby and letterhead. At its best, an organization’s brand should be like the core identity of an individual. It should be genuine and in sync with the present and on a direct path to a successful future.
Back in 2012, moments after I had composed the above words, I happened to turn on the TV to the Bloomberg Business Channel’s premiere of “The Naked Brand.” The show, a fascinating documentary, highlights the efforts of powerhouses like Nike, Wal-mart, Virgin Airways and Zappos to create new relationships with their customers. In the case of Virgin, they captured how a few seemingly insignificant shifts to the customer check-in experience generated tremendous bottom-line results.
Needless to say, I stopped writing and watched the entire program. The key take-away was that being a great company IS the new brand — and that has become even more true in recent years. Unsurprisingly, consumers want more than promises from the companies they do business with. Even back then, a survey of 11,000 people across eight countries, public relations giant Edelman found that 90% of responders want corporations to be as transparent as possible. Perhaps the other 10% are scared of what they’ll discover.”
The Naked Brand message resonated with everything I believe in and continue to apply to my practice. It is amazing how intentional messaging, branding, physical environments and other elements can reinforce an organization’s core identity to create relationships that go much deeper than websites, pricing and shipping dates… and done in ways that promote lasting growth.
In fact, can you imagine getting a hug from your customers and clients?
The notion of ‘raving fans’ is a far cry from the bare minimum of “customer satisfaction”. Personally I want our fans off the stands and within arms’ reach. Let’s instead look to convert “target markets and demographics and stakeholders” into actual people and relationships that are based on trust, transparency and connection.
With the leap in technology and diminishing face-to-face interaction, this is more important than ever. As in our personal lives, it really boils down to the quality of a relationship. So, to go back to what I wrote that day: … At its best, an organization’s brand should be like the core identity of an individual. It should be genuine and in sync with the present and on a direct path to a successful future.