First Posted on Smart Company as part of my Brand and Promises blog.
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There are many reasons why organisations engage brand practitioners. Some do so in the legitimate desire to make and keep authentic promises; some as a band-aid for avoiding underlying weaknesses of the business; and some for no other reason than they think they “should.”
As an Independent Brand Advocate, at one time or another I have been bought into organisations for all of the above reasons and more often than not I find that brand has become a “dirty” word. With organisations traumatised by unmet expectations and high price tags for little return, I have at times been asked to call my work something else so as not to earn people’s ire.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I am making a plea to brand practitioners far and wide, that we adopt a little of the founding principles of medical practitioners and first do no harm.
My Brand (Hippocratic) Oath.
I will first do no harm.
I will remember that at the heart of every brand are people and so I must honour the history and legacy of their work and the brand they have built. If no legacy exists I will respect the purpose and values of the business and it’s people as being central to the brand.
I acknowledge that the organisation as owners of the brand, have much to teach me. I will first observe and learn, then apply only required measures and avoid projecting my services where they will not achieve the desired outcomes.
I will not be ashamed to say “you don’t need me”, nor will I fail to call on colleagues and associates when their skills are more appropriate for the work to be done.
I will be conscious of the fact that I am not just working on a brand but with a whole organisation and that every decision has the potential to impact all areas of the business in good and bad ways.
I will do what I can to help the organisation make promises they can keep and not be a participant in the overstatement of expectations that contributes to the erosion of confidence in brands.
And if I stay true to this oath, may I enjoy the thanks of my clients for acting with their best interests at the fore. And further get the opportunity to continue to do this work I love, in the belief that brand has a deep influence and value for all organisations.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a start!