great brands commit and stay committed
Here’s the latest in the series of posts and posters based on the principles from my new book, What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest. This principle, Great Brands Commit and Stay Committed, is easy to understand but hard to execute.
Everyone knows that success comes from doing a few things really well, but in my 25 years of experience working with a range of organizations including some with world-class brands, I’ve observed that the pressure to produce short-term results and the pull to imitate the successful practices of others induces many companies to lose that focus. Competing priorities, organizational politics, and the typical managerial imperative to reach for top-line revenue goals can cause even the most well-run companies to veer off course.
The best defense against these challenges and pressures is to set clear priorities and then ruthlessly stick to them. I’ve found that the leaders behind great brands drill down to their absolute aspirations and lock them in. Then they execute on them relentlessly so that customers over time will learn exactly what the brand stands for and come to trust that the brand will deliver it every time. Examples:
- Amazon‘s CEO Jeff Bezos always asks his team to consider, “What ’s not going to change over the next 10 years?” His company’s long-standing commitment to the three things — the best selection, the lowest prices, and the cheapest and most convenient delivery — has informed decisions that have enabled it to thrive while so many other e-retailers come and go.
- Shake Shack, the New York based burger and shake chain, turned down seemingly lucrative growth opportunities like catering in order to keep people coming to their locations and enjoying the entire Shake Shack brand experience.
- Vanguard CEO Bill McNabb has said, “The secret to our success is how we have managed our repeatable model to get better and better every year, while still adapting and adhering to the deep business principles that were set in place at the time of [founder] John Bogle.“
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