There’s nothing esoteric about brand leadership. It is, in fact, a concept that can—and should—be demonstrated in the actions an organization takes every day. Chris Wren (@chriswrenla), who contributes to Branding Strategy Insider, has recently shared some excellent thinking about it.
Brands and the Shut Down
He takes as his example what Chase and Kraft did during the recent and highly stressful government shut down. Among other things, Chase—and other banks as well—offered 0% interest loans and canceled overdraft fees to help strapped families. And Kraft quickly put together a pop-up store in Washington, DC to allow government employees to pick up Kraft products for free. Kraft also invited other brands to participate.
An aside: a 2014 report from the Federal Reserve notes that nearly half of Americans can’t come up with $400 in emergency expenses without borrowing or selling something. Though it’s five years later, I’m betting that this scary situation has probably not improved.
Mr. Wren points out that consumers want their brands “ … to do more; to take a stand.” From everything I’ve been reading, this is a particular requirement millennials have of the brands they embrace. To want a brand to stand for something is all about its purpose.
“Brand,” as Mr. Wren says, “goes hand in hand with your vision – where you want to go and what you want to become.” A sense of purpose resonates through an organization and informs the behavior employees display toward customers and each other. And when a company does good during times of need, “authentic good will translates into real value that consumers will associate with these brands.”
On a Personal Level
So how does brand leadership translate into our personal lives? Most of us are familiar with the concept of the personal brand (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_branding), which, in my opinion, can seem a bit cynical when you read the definition on Wikipedia. On the other hand, maybe not. If you look at what brands did during the recent shut down, meeting people’s needs in a straightforward way, associates them with good, even if that good is ultimately associated with making money. If we step out our doors every day with the intention to be kind, to be patient, to be compassionate, and to give our daily work our best, then even when we fail, we’re still better people than if we hadn’t embraced that purpose.
Phaisarn Wongkulchata — 123rf.com