Businesses launch and immediately reveal an identity. The identity may not be intentional, but it still exists. This development works the same as a child. Through the conception and birthing process, a child embraces its parents’ traits and influence. It is the same for biological or adoptive children, as it is for boot strapped or acquired businesses; once you got them they reflect you! Then, once the business begins operating, interactions with customers and vendors began to craft the entity’s personality. Once everyone knows that Big Daddy’s Donuts are extra sweet, people begin to expect that characteristic every time they visit Big Daddy’s. That’s who Big Daddy’s is. That is their brand.
Better with Time
Like children, a brand develops with every interaction. They keep promises. Well-behaved children have positive manners reinforced, then continue to behave well. They do not have to be perfect every time. They have to be perfect often enough that people are shocked when they are not. Announcing two-day shipping on all online purchases does not mean the business quits because a holiday blizzard causes deliveries to extend to a third day. The retailer manages the broken promise with the appropriate apology, then learns how to manage the next blizzard during a holiday. The business gets better with time. It learns. It adapts. It improves. Brands do not reflect perfection. They grow to the point that flaws are acceptable. The rare mishap becomes part of its charm. Besides, who can resist kissing those rosy cheeks? You just want to eat ‘em all up. And, the same can be said for the new gourmet burger restaurant that routinely, but not flawlessly, dazzles their growing clientele. Invest. Grow. Learn from the mistakes.
Best with Growth
Brands that are loved experience growth. A new clothing boutique does not have to sell the latest fashions forever. They may start out with the most cutting edge outfits. But as the store matures and their core customer base does also, growth continues by being edgy enough to attract new customers. Yet, the merchandise remains consistently attractive to maintain faithful, established ones. The store performs best when it grows as a result of dancing that fine line. Many brands do not survive that dance specifically because it is so difficult. Nevertheless, wildly successful outlets benefit from moms and daughters shopping together, in different parts of their store. The more consistently that the business delivers on specific promises, the more it grows. Delivering consistently in the marketplace is the equivalent to eating your vegetables. Do it faithfully so the apple of your eye grows big and strong.
Ultimately, business leaders must invest in their brand for success. Customers want to do business with credible brands that do what they promise. But like children, businesses only do what they promise when they are groomed to do so. It is nature and nurture. But, it is a whole lot of nurture! Like children, brands are cute one minute and shameful the next. You love them to the best of your ability, then they disappoint you. But when properly nourished, exposed to obstacles, equipped to navigate threats, experience success, then they deliver proudly. Raise your brand with the tools to make you proud. Establish boundaries. Say no to opportunities outside of its character. Hold it accountable to keeping promises. Equip it to adapt to evolving environments. And, love it so that it will deliver growth continuously as it matures. Good adults have to start somewhere.
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond