Failure Is Not an Option for Brands
The 40th anniversary of the ground-breaking Apollo 11 mission reminds me of a talk by Jim Lovell, the commander of the other famous Apollo mission (#13), which I recently I heard. In it, Mr. Lovell declared, “I shouldn’t be here,” and attributed the fact that he was indeed still here to the qualities of the men who worked to rescue the periled spaceship.
The same 5 qualities he described as the reasons why the mission didn’t fail seem to be the same qualities that explain why certain brands manage to overcome even the most threatening challenges:
- leadership — Brands that lead are more likely to succeed than those that follow. Whether through excellence or innovation or advocacy, some brands establish themselves as leaders — not necessarily market share leaders (although that certainly strengthens a brand’s leadership credentials), but thought leaders, or leaders of a cultural movement, or leaders in esteem. Leadership means these brands create their desired future vs. struggle to keep up in someone else’s.
- motivation — Brands that inspire people vs. simply sell a product/service are well-positioned for success. By speaking to people’s emotions and aspirations, these brands are highly valued and less likely to be passed over when competitors or business context exert pressure.
- teamwork — Brands that partner with complementary brands tend to be more secure. The right vendors, channels, media, etc. can create stronger value propositions for brands — which in turn creates stronger customer relationships, an asset that helps brands weather all kinds of storms.
- initiative — Similar to those with leadership, brands that take initiative have an energy which propels them through crisis. The people who work on the brand are forward-thinking, not complacent; they apply creative problem-solving, not wishful thinking; they have a bias for action, not a victim-mentality. As such, the brand tends to be salient and successful.
- perseverance — Brands that stay true to their key values and attributes despite experiencing set-backs tend to be successful. Even under tremendous pressure, these brands remain committed to their purpose and don’t waiver from it. No brand is immune to failure but the strongest ones are those whose managers operate with the belief that failure is not an option.
I was going to give examples of brands for each of these qualities, but I thought it might be more interesting to leave this open to my readers. So I invite you to name some brands that exemplify one or more of these qualities — please use the “Comment” box below to give your input. I’ll follow-up with a blog and/or tweets to report on the brands you name. Thanks!