I hope that the following information is a guide for every second level lieutenant or rising C-Suite employee who wants to impress the bosses without offending them when it comes to knowing, communicating and developing the company Corporate Brand.
I have heard this time and time again: The bosses do not understand that our corporate brand is non-existent or fading away and we ‘underlings’ do not know how to stress its importance without losing our jobs. PLEASE HELP US!!
Incredibly, this situation is not as unusual as it may seem. I have been hired by several companies who do not know their brand nor do they understand the concept of Brand or Brand Awareness, yet they are a success in the marketplace. One would think that everything is just fine, but then again everything looks good when we have on “rose colored glasses,” and our competition is anemic. So how does a junior executive share the importance of CORPORATE BRAND? The answer is to be a great story teller.
The most read book in the world is full of stories, parables, truth and symbolism, all with the purpose of sharing ‘Truth, Love, Justice, Grace, Mercy and Deliverance.’ The key is that I do not try to recreate the wheel, but rather adapt my system of sharing to a system that has worked for more than 4000 years. I share a story.
There once was a little boy who loved candy bars and every day he would run down to the local general store and buy one. The good news for the General Store was that they sold only one candy bar and it was the one the little boy liked. So each day the little boy came to the general store and was satisfied by his candy bar, and the owner of the General Store was happy because he made a profit. Soon little boys from all over the neighborhood noticed the little boy had a smile and chocolate all over his face and they too wanted a candy bar. Everyone was happy, the boys were satisfied, and the General Store owner was making a profit. Eventually, the General Store owner realized he was only making a profit off of one candy bar, and asked himself, “What would happen if I offered a greater selection of candy bars, would I get more customers and make more money?” So he called all of the candy salesmen in the area, explained he was selling more candy than he could keep in stock and wanted him to show him new ideas about storing, selling and adding to his selection of candy bars. Several companies competed for the business. At first the boys were so excited with all of the choices, and everyone was making money. Eventually the boys began to grow tired of chocolate so they started to buy gum instead, and the number of candy bar sales declined and declined.
In the end, the General Store owner was down to just three different types of candy bars by three different companies. The other candy bar companies stopped sending out candy bars because they were losing money and the store owner couldn’t afford to offer so many selections as he had when sales were hot, besides most of the boys had moved on to gum. There was one loyal boy, the original boy, and he wanted to buy a candy bar every day, but he could not tell which one was the original candy bar and which were new. They all looked the same and there was nothing special about any of them. When the general store owner asked the little boy which candy bar he should keep and which ones he should stop selling, the boy did not have an answer.
He decided he would just pick one and that would be all they would sell. He chose the only one that stood out in his mind – the one with great service, a salesman he remembered as being clean and neat, with very polite people skills, and an always helpful attitude when helping place the candy bars in the store displays. He picked the candy bar company that he remembered for all the intrinsic Brand Values over and above the taste alone. The store owner made a profit and the boy was happy, but that is not true for all the candy bar companies. They all did great when demand was strong, but only one spent time developing its own brand, only one made certain everyone understood that they were more than just a candy bar company. That is the one that remained while the other companies went out of business.
What is the moral of the story? The store owner will always sell a product at a value that makes him and his customers happy. The key is to be the product that he remembers when the competition gets tough and crowded, or tight and thinning out. The winning company is the company with the BEST BRAND this goes far beyond products.
Are you the company that communicates your Brand to the world AND to every single one of your employees? Or are you simply riding the wave of success hoping it doesn’t crash?
Success never just happens, and a company Brand is always about more than its products.
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