Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Why You're not a Leading Brand

Good stuff from Conversation Agent, via Scott Monty/Ford:

As we continue to talk about social media and leading brands; we continue to see that marketers are enamored with shiny objects; free has become a vehicle to do more of the same; and we are fast approaching the end of the year, I wanted to share with you the top ten reason why you're not a leading brand:

(1) you don't listen aggressively

Some thoughts: are you making the customer in front of you the most important person at that moment? Do you maintain confidentiality? Do you hold off on reacting to negative feedback and instead communicate an action plan to address it?

(2) you don't communicate purpose and meaning

In much of my research, I am finding that these should be the underpinnings of a valuable strategy both with employees and with customers. Who cares when you start a blog, or join Twitter, if you don't have a plan on purpose and meaning? This will also help with building a community and letting people make a difference. Drop the fluff, go for the real stuff.

(3) you don't lead by example

Ask yourself: do you set the tone for the industry? Do you demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm? Are you doing everything you are asking your customers and employees to do? We demonstrate our truest colors and values in difficult times. Your actions will follow you long after the troubles are gone.

(4) you don't take calculated risks

It's no secret that we become even more conservative in difficult times. You should capitalize on the lack of resources to become more focused and efficient, yes, but also by experimenting a little. Times of chaos are ripe with opportunities for creativity and innovation. Prepare for when things pick up.

(5) you don't look for results, just go for the power play

Instead, work in the opposite direction. Use your power to highlight others and become more open to new ideas, regardless of where they come from. With the movements in mobility, open content and portability, why should we stay stuck with hierarchies? The growth seems to be horizontal, especially with social media.

(6) you don't create a climate of trust

If employees and customers are constantly looking over their shoulder, well... so do the right thing for your people and for the organization. Be consistent. It's tempting to want to change everything, because it was "not invented here". That is really bad for continuing to deliver on consistency in experience.

(7) you're overly critical of others

It's good to be skeptical, to require the official story to explain itself. However, in all that negativity as you compete, you may be missing your own story. What makes you different, reliable, interesting, worth buying - you pick an adjective.

(8) you don't rally around a common goal

Do you help increase contacts between employees, for example? Too many companies are still very much organized in silos internally and continue to project that split externally. Unity is important, and so is holding everyone to the same high standards.

(9) you don't improve people's lives

Connection with purpose is important. You can be a brilliant blogger with dozens of fast comments and discussions wherever you go - what have you done to improve someone's life today? I think it's time to put away those measuring sticks for a moment and develop different, private metrics. What do you think?

(10) you don't have a sense of humor

I throw this in for good measure. You should not take yourself too seriously. Laughing is good for your health and helps with the human side of things. Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

The marketplace is flooded with "me, me, me" brands who don't lead because leadership is not about talking, it's about doing. It requires commitment and hard work to stay the course - just like blogging and social media do.

Hard economic times call for focused boldness and kind leadership. Can your brand do it?

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