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.
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. Unsurprisingly, consumers want more than promises from the companies they do business with. In 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 resonates with everything I believe in and apply to my practice. It shows countless examples of how messaging, branding, physical environments and so much more can connect to 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?
Perhaps the notion of ‘raving fans’ cheering from the stands is shifting. Personally I vote for moving those fans down from the stands and into arms’ reach — to turn target markets and demographics and other stakeholders into actual people, with relationships 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.