There are innumerable facets to a brand – from customer service to quality of the product/service; from the visual identity to the charitable actions that the business/company has been involved in. One big part of the brand is also the leader – the business owner, the CEO, regional manager, supervisor and any other person which can be identified as the leader.
There are a number of ways in which such a leader can contribute to the brand and just as many in which they can ‘ruin’ it. We will try and identify these different practices.
1. Being an innovator
One of the most obvious and prominent ways in which a leader can help build a brand is through innovation. Perhaps the most popular example of this was Steve Jobs who pretty much carried the Apple brand on his back for decades (or at least that is the public perception).
In reality, this does not have to be so obvious. Perhaps you will come up with a new way to streamline the production or delivery of a product. Perhaps you will come up with a brand new pizza sauce that will revolutionize your pizza restaurant. These are all examples of innovation and the leader should always be on the front lines there.
2. Improving the knowledge and skills
There are developments in every industry, no matter how traditional or set in its ways it might be. There are always new advancements, new practices that can be adopted and implemented. If a leader is a crusty presence that believes it knows everything, this will lead to the brand becoming one of those static ones that get run over by time.
True leaders will also educate themselves and always find new ways in which they can add that little bit to their business through their expertise.
3. Knowing one’s limits
There is nothing that can hurt a business and thus the brand like a leader who believes they know everything and are best at literally everything. A real leader will see their own limitations and will know when to delegate stuff; ask for advice or hire professional help.
For example, there are many business owners who believe that they know everything about marketing and branding without actually being aware of how much work it is and how complicated things can get if this is not done properly. A truly great leader will know when to call up branding pros who will analyze the brand, the market, the target consumers and then provide an extensive branding strategy. And this is just one example.
4. Being smart about personal life and opinions
This falls more in the category of ‘not ruining the brand’ than promoting it, but it is important nonetheless. There have been innumerable cases where various business owners and CEOs have been involved in personal faux-pas that hurt their enterprises, most recently in NBA. It is incredible how much these negative outbursts by the leaders can harm the brand.
Conversely, a leader who is obviously a nice person and who cares about the community and charities can become a real boon for the business. People connect with brands on a more personal level now more than ever and it is essential that the leader knows how to work this.
James D. Burbank has been involved in the world of marketing and brand promotion in one way or the other for more than a decade. He has learned a ton about the power of the brand from Marketing Angels, a marketing agency from Sydney, Australia.