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Brands – fly high, in good times and bad | Christopher O.H. Williams
LeadershipWinning

Brands – fly high, in good times and bad


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There are three constants in life... change, choice and principles.

Stephen Covey

My core belief

At the heart of every SUCCESS is the INDIVIDUAL and the fuel for every individual is the ENVIRONMENT in which they live, work or play.

My beacons

Everyone has their secret sauce of motivators. Here’s mine accompanied by quotes that capture my sentiments quite well.
(You probably noticed by now that I like quotes…)

Not failure, but low aim, is sin. - Benjamin Elijah Mays

Vision1.

“The secret of getting things done is to act!” Dante Alighieri

Resilience 2.

“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending.” Saint Augustine

Humility 3.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Winston S. Churchill

Change4.

"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." Oprah Winfrey

Passion5.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams

Leadership6.

Next week, I am leading a seminar on Brand Identity with students at African Leadership College in Mauritius. I am looking forward to it – because I am excited that so many students are interested in starting their own ventures, because I am proud of the brands I have worked directly with and passionate about how branding can be leveraged to create value with purpose that can in turn have positive impact on society. At the same time there is one lesson I will not be amiss in covering – how brands can misstep, be mismanaged, be hurt or even be destroyed.

In 1986, Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant, faced a product contamination issue. Its handling of the incident has become the ultimate textbook reference for good crisis management. The company acted quickly and decisively, communicated clearly and changed its internal operations to ensure that the scandal would not repeat easily. Most notably, it showed caring, empathy and responsibility for its consumers. Business onlookers will assert that the company was richly rewarded for this citizenship in terms of its worth and following, for many decades since. Heck – we are still talking about it!

It is in times of crisis that we test the true mettle of a brand (and know the true worth of a leader, I would add). That is not to say that perfection and flawlessness is the standard, but as with people, brands can constructively address damage they create or cause by how they make amends for it with their consumers and most impacted stakeholders – reacting quickly, accepting responsibility, limiting the downside, making real changes, communicating sincerely and seeking ways to not repeat the past. None of this is easy peasy stuff but consumers are smart enough to know when you are at least trying, and your efforts are genuine. And yes – they will reward you! Or not!

Rahm Emanuel, a former Obama White House advisor, famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” True. We see many examples of the Johnson and Johnson lesson in practice around us every day. I spent almost a decade at Nike and saw it shift its response to repeated “sweatshop” crises from defending and explaining to embracing solutions and partners and providing greater transparency to its factory operations – an approach that many in the industry now follow, and that, like in Johnson and Johnson, actually spurred business innovation. Again, not perfection but sincere pro-action. At the same time, each day, one new company or sector gets embroiled in controversy that seems handled by executives and public relations teams who have lost their copies of the Johnson and Johnson playbook – they equivocate and compartmentalize, stall, hunker down around the bottom line, or have to be dragged by the scruff of the neck to the big green button with the happy face labelled “consumer-centric decision-making”. Seriously?

So yes, I am looking forward to my Brand Identity class next week, and as much as I will share with the students what good brands must do, to become strong and profitable, I will share with them what they must not do, to become loved and respected.

RealWinTips

Identify a passion and pursue it zealously. A passion is anything you truly enjoy and that you will seek to do naturally on your own, make time for, continuously challenge yourself with and devote to being the best in. Having a passion is a gift to yourself because it becomes a GIVER of energy and also teaches you how to win…and therefore readies you to tackle those other tasks – those USERS of energy that you must do, but don’t come naturally to you. So the more we focus on the things that we truly enjoy, the better able we are to handle the rest of our lives. Are you fueling your passion? More importantly, is your passion fueling the rest of your life? RealWinTips

Identify a passion and pursue it zealously. A passion is anything you truly enjoy and that you will seek to do naturally on your own, make time for, continuously challenge yourself with and devote to being the best in. Having a passion is a gift to yourself because it becomes a GIVER of energy and also teaches you how to win…and therefore readies you to tackle those other tasks – those USERS of energy that you must do, but don’t come naturally to you. So the more we focus on the things that we truly enjoy, the better able we are to handle the rest of our lives. Are you fueling your passion? More importantly, is your passion fueling the rest of your life? RealWinTips

Identify a passion and pursue it zealously. A passion is anything you truly enjoy and that you will seek to do naturally on your own, make time for, continuously challenge yourself with and devote to being the best in. Having a passion is a gift to yourself because it becomes a GIVER of energy and also teaches you how to win…and therefore readies you to tackle those other tasks – those USERS of energy that you must do, but don’t come naturally to you. So the more we focus on the things that we truly enjoy, the better able we are to handle the rest of our lives. Are you fueling your passion? More importantly, is your passion fueling the rest of your life? RealWinTips

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