A brand is only as good as the people

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There are lots things that really annoy me. One that routinely lands high on that list is the way the term brand gets elevated to some kind of supernatural being with extraordinary powers to do things.

You will have read the headlines, heard the commentary. The brand did … the brand is responsible for… the brand achieved…

But here’s the rub. The brand doesn’t do anything. The organisation, business, company (take your pick) does it. Or to be more specific the people in the organisation do.

Which brings me to the point of the blog this week. You can’t have a great brand if you don’t take great care in choosing the people who will be responsible for building it. Culture doesn’t just eat strategy for lunch, it’s the beating heart of brand.

Look at every organisation whose brand you love and I guarantee that it has been lovingly built by a group of people. Who like working together. Who are deliberate and conscious about their actions and decisions. Who take care to make promises they can keep. And who know why they are making them.

So here’s a two key things to look for when you’re looking for people.

1. Do they share the values of your organization? That very small set of things that define how you do things around there and are not open for negotiation or trade.

2. Do they care about what you care about? Service not your thing – don’t even think about going to work at Zappos. Not interested in saving the environment – chances are Patagonia won’t be interested in you.

Only if those two things are true does the question of skills come into play. Because one of the small truths I’ve observed over the years, is that while people might be hired for what they can do, they leave or are fired most often because of who they are.

The best organisations recognize this and are rigorous about who they allow to help with the important work of building their brand.

So let’s put brand back where it belongs, as a result, and let the organisation and the people in it take credit where it’s due.

See you next week.

Get your brand questions answered by posting them on twitter @michelhogan or emailing me at michel@brandology.com.au This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Michel is an Independent Brand Analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.

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Michel Hogan is an Independent Brand Thinker and Adviser dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make.

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