Back in April, the wonderful Linda Popky of Leverage2Market wrote about how having a great brand can sometimes hurt you. She used her experience with the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota to good effect in illustrating her point.
I scratched my head at the title of her article. I mean, how can having a great brand cause a problem? Isn’t that what we’re all aiming for?
The answer, not surprisingly, is pretty simple. In Linda’s case, high expectations of what the Ritz-Carlton stands for and less-than-wonderful front line execution collided head-on. Turns out that Ritz-Carlton properties are individually owned, which means that different management teams may have different ideas about the brand promise and step up to the plate differently.
“The Ritz” is big business, and many (probably most) of my readers are small businesses. What does brand control mean to us? At bottom, it means that our mandate is to deliver with consistently high quality. In this respect, we may actually have an advantage over large enterprises. Because we’re smaller and not managing huge infrastructures staffed by thousands of employees, we have the potential to retain better control over what goes on. If we’re one-person operations, the buck stops with us.
On a lighter note, the next time my attitude toward attending a networking event is irremediably bad, I’ll stay home and spare my brand.
(Originally published 8/23/11)