The past few weeks you have likely seen the CEO of Target trying to manage the aftermath of the massive credit card hacking scandal. Not a fun situation for any brand leader. One recent interview on CNBC caught my eye. While Gregg Steinhafel was assuring customers that the company was taking the right steps to deal with the mess, a beautiful logo-patterned, red Target vase was perched on the stage behind him. Was his intention to communicate, yes this is bad, but you can still expect great design and a style edge that the big blue retailer just can't do? Using logo marks well in non traditional touch points is a great opportunity for any brand. I read an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal about the return of wearing branded apparel. The story was titled, “The Return of the Fashion Logo”. Full story click here.
All right, maybe not everyone who reads my blog or gets my ezine is guilty of this brand-busting sin but a bunch of you are. Your voice mail message, on your office phone or cell phone, is an important brand touch point. And it cost nothing more to sound impressive. This is free branding. Often those messages are the first impressions you give to a prospective client, a business colleague, a strategic partner, or a new friend. So don't even think about using the non personalized recording that comes with your phone. That's LAME with a capital 'L". So, is your message giving the best first impression? Give yourself a call. If your message is not on brand, re-record it using these tips
This past year, I had the privilege of working with a chemistry company called Celanese. The assignment was to re-energize a business to business brand that helps manufacturers of all kinds create innovative products. The mission was accomplished. In collaboration with a team spanning 26 countries, the company’s brand evolved into an even stronger persona; one that reflected ingenuity, creativity, forward thinking and a united spirit of over 7,000 global employees. The 12-month brand transformation centered around the core values of the organization and required serious alignment with the company’s vision, business practices, communications and the internal culture.
Imagine this guy showing up at your office for a job interview. It’s likely your judgment filter would kick in in less than 30 seconds, and you will conclude the applicant is severely out of touch and may have been living in a cave for the last 30 years. Not a good first impression. This week I was working with a trade association that has engaged me to speak to 5 of their chapters in 2014 on branding. During our negotiations, I mentioned to my contact that the trade association’s current logo needed a facelift. In addition to the logo mark being too busy, a major part of the design was the state of Florida. Lose the “So last decade” logos. Yikes! Someone call the brand police, Using the state as art is passé, just like a blue leisure. The light blue leisure suit is a great metaphor for branding that is outdated and reflects a tired or should be retired elements.
This week, I accompanied my dear friend, Pam Iorio, the former Mayor of Tampa, to the Lead & Succeed event in Tampa. If this event comes to your town, attend. For five bucks you will hear top notch business speakers and likely make some great contacts too. Pam was one of several keynote speakers and she inspired everyone, including me, to find a higher level of leadership in themselves. She shared stories about her journey in life and she talked about the three important behaviors that she sees in great leaders. 1) They don’t waste energy fretting about the competition. They focus on their own performance and improving. 2) They treat everyone with respect and make everyone feel important. 3) They don’t give self-doubt a chair at any party. While these points are pretty simple advice, if you think back to any moments of soft leadership you observed, or were a part of, they were not likely practiced.