Zappos, Nike and Apple are all highly recognized brands. We tend to think a brand is simply a slogan or a logo. However, a brand is much deeper than artwork. Brand is simply defined as “what OTHERS think of you”. We all have a brand. A company has a brand and we as individuals all have a brand too! The way we communicate, the language we use, the quality of our work, how well we work with our colleagues and family members determine our brand. Here is a quick little test. If I was to ask your fellow team members, friends or family members to list three attributes to describe you (positive, negative or neutral), what would they say? That is your brand, whether you like it or not. Remember, it’s what others think of you not what you think of yourself. The great thing about a brand is you can manage it, enhance it and even change it! A company’s brand is created by the team members it employs.
When we look at companies like Zappos, you see the brand goes much deeper than their blue shoe slogan. CEO Tony Hsieh believes their culture drives their brand. Zappos has some very interesting and creative ways to cultivate their culture and hence their brand. Here are some of their cultural core values or beliefs:
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
If you don’t believe and live out the Zappos culture you aren’t a part of the Zappos team. Since culture ultimately impacts your brand, Tony Hsieh is extremely protective of who he allows in. For example, if you are a new hire, you are given the opportunity to take a $2,000 quit bonus at the end of your first week. That offer remains until the end of the fourth week of training in case you don’t feel you can live out daily the core beliefs of Zappos. Hsieh knows if a person only wants a paycheck they will never shepherd or deliver the client centric culture they aspire to.
It is easy for agencies to write down client experience attributes but living them out daily is where the cultural rubber meets the branding road. I would encourage you to take some time as the year winds down to take the personal brand test. Click here for a copy. I would also encourage you to do the same exercise for your agency or brokerage. Don’t like what you read? Challenge yourself to make the culture changes necessary in 2016 so you are delighted to hear what others are saying about your organization!