Over the past ten years much of my work has focused on developing and executing strategy. It has been intense as those years have spanned the best in economic times and now the most challenging.
During this time it has seemed like the much of the chatter at the strategy retreats, visioning sessions and business planning meetings has focused on Brand. And as I reflect on this the idea I realize that talk of Brand, Branding, Brand Strength has reached a fever pitch. Non-business types talk about Brand, contenders on the Celebrity Apprentice speak about Brand consistency and relevance and even my 70 year old mother and retired school administrative assistant has used the term. There has been on onslaught of new books on the subject and sports and entertainment celebrities hire teams to develop their personal Brand. I myself made sure I got educated and became a relative expert on the subject to best serve my clients. And I think this is a good thing as Brand is so very important to every organization.
But I do propose that there has been a good number of companies and people who potentially became too myopic on the Brand conversation and neglected equally important aspects of the business including contingency planning for a downturn, talent management and plain old business planning. Some organizations even neglected the personal one-on-one relationship building with clients. This has been especially true with B2B companies. I believe that there was a ‘relaxing’ of effort in building strong personal relationships because there was so much focus on Brand and maybe even a hope that the Brand reputation was substitute or create a virtual relationship with the client. Which of course it does not.
Now, hear me clearly, I am a huge believer in Brand and it is critically important to organizations! I live it, I teach it, and I consult about it. However, Brand is not sufficient in itself and must be complimented by the other business disciplines especially building personal relationships. In order for businesses to be successful in this highly competitive world market place they must put effort and expertise in all areas of the business disciplines.