By Jerry Touslee
The speed of political change can be truly astonishing. Recent events in the Middle East reinforce two powerful lessons:
- People have a right to determine who they are and where they are going, and
- Leaders who believe that their view of the situation is the only view put themselves and their organization at risk.
On a significantly smaller scale, company leaders can get caught up in their own perspectives about what their company is about – sometimes known as the brand – and put their company at risk.
A very comfortable trap
Many senior executives see their company’s brand as a reflection of their own thinking, and that other input is not important. Take for instance how leaders at some companies manage their branding:
- They get very focused on the opinions of customers or external audience and forget about their internal audience, the very people who “live” the brand every day.
- They, along with their marketing departments, hire agencies that simply validate what they think they already know is right and don’t even consider the input of the company’s staff. Brand development is treated as just another checkbox task and not given the depth of thinking, or the necessary time, to be executed correctly.
Do you really know what your brand is?
The real heartbeat of your company’s brand is the pulse of your workforce. Doing an annual survey and then giving token attention to the results isn’t really effective. Your people need regular forums for input, ideas, and feedback. They need to know your brand marketing plans so they understand what your brand is and how they can positively influence it every day.
Actions you can take today
- Listen to your staff. If you’re a company leader or executive, ask three people how they think your customers see the company. Then listen, listen, listen. Bonus points if you talk with people directly on the front lines.
- Listen to your internal customer. If you work in marketing and have brand development responsibilities, call up a friendly and honest staff member and ask for a 10-minute interview on how they see the company. Bonus points if you talk less than 2 minutes total out of the 10.