While taking a morning spin through a few email newsletters I get, a quote in an article about a fashion label taking private equity funding, grabbed my attention and got me thinking:
“… founders…say they approached Alecon looking for a partner which could provide expertise on the operational and logistics side of growing their company, allowing them to focus on the product.
‘In our case, it’s a distraction from the brand, product and fashion side of the business…’ ”
They are hardly alone in seeing ‘brand’ as something over there with other things unworthy of attention.
Except the brand is just as much, if not more, a result of those ‘distractions’ as the usual suspects people assign to it. Back to the quote. Let’s look at the products deemed worthy of attention, as opposed to the pesky operating aspects of the business.
The brand is a result of (all) the promises you keep. And let’s suppose you’ve promised people ethical clothes made using fair labour and sustainable fabrics.
But before you can sell anything you need financial capital to hire designers, buy the fabric and pay for manufacturing. Funds require you to make choices of direct consequence to the final products. Maybe your finance partners want more mass-market appeal, forcing you to make choices about how far you can take your ethical stance. Sustainable fabrics are more expensive and harder to source meaning slower production timelines. Fair manufacturing costs more, leading to higher prices. So how is finance not relevant to your brand result?
And even if the financing lines up, how about logistics. You can’t sell products that aren’t available. Or if when people buy them online, they don’t get shipped according to your promises. ‘You give me money, and I give you the product’ is central to the general promise a retailer of any stripe makes. So how is logistics not relevant to your brand result?
Add technology, operations, and people to the mix of things that are not a distraction. I’ll cap off the list with marketing. It’s what is often called ‘brand’ and so most don’t see it as a distraction. And so paradoxically the attention thrown its way makes it the biggest one. But it is really just one more part of the organisation that contributes to the result.
Because without financial capital to pay for things, logistics to get it from A to B, technology so you can see how the pieces are connected, people to make it all happen, and yes marketing to tell people about it. You don’t have much of anything at all, let alone a brand result.
So if you’re tempted to look at something as irrelevant to your brand result, stop. Dive in right there and think deeply about how your identity (intention held by your purpose and values) is showing up. Look at the promises you’re making and how you’re going to keep them. Think about what it means for people’s experience.
Now you’ve got the right mindset to achieve a brand result people want to stick with.
Note: This is a ‘subscriber only’ blog sent on June 21, 2019. Sign up the mail list if you’d like to periodically get articles like this. I only post them to this blog after subscribers have read them.