Make your brand an internal unifying force.

January 24, 2011 at 10:26 am 1 comment

From a recent Linkedin conversation on the “ownership” of brands…

I recently read a speech given by Ken Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express, which he delivered to the Economic Club of Boston several years ago. The topic was the power of brands and in it I thought he made a very interesting point about the internal value of a brand driven culture.

“Because there is a strong understanding of our brand across our employee base, we’re able to have a principles-based management process rather than a rules-based process.” Mr. Chenault goes on to describe AE’s employee proactive response to the news about the Asian tsunami of 2004.

Customer service reps proactively reviewed card and travel related transactions and found 10,000 card members/clients likely still in the impacted area. Those reps placed calls to card members to see if they were all right or needed any kind of special assistance. If help was needed, the reps replaced cards, rebooked travel, and more to meet the needs of the cardmembers. All without management direction.

The notion of a principles-based culture rather than a rules-based culture spoke volumes to me about the power of a brand as an internal unifying force. Thank you Mr Chenault.

by Dennis Bailen, Chicago-area Brand Strategist and Marketing Consultant

As the CEO or key executive of a midsize company, how do you manage your brand? Do your employees have a strong understanding of your brand? Are they free to make decisions that will reinforce it, support it, build it? …or do you rely on your marketing department or outside consultants to manage your brand for you? (Note: No matter how good they are, they can’t.)

To give these questions context, I will offer this simplified description:  a company’s brand lives in the minds of its customers. It is the feeling they get when they think about the company, its products, or its people.

You get this in your gut, because you are a customer, too. Think about your favorite soft drink, airline, and car dealer. I’ll bet you can name them quickly. Why are they your favorites?

Now, ask yourself: Is your company one of your customers’ favorite brands.

Ken Sethney [marketing coach]

Entry filed under: branding, CEO coach, management, marketing coach.

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