Each business has a unique culture and branding. Successful companies become successful because they are known for their product, service, culture, and branding.
For example, there was a solid retail company that operated successfully for decades under the hallmarks of quality, reliability, and trust. This was their signature culture and branding. Their products were not the cheapest on the market, but they were designed to last a lifetime. Their service was marked by quality as well, with installation and service customers knew they could trust.
But markets changed as markets will, and the leaders of the company decided they must change their product, service, culture, and branding to be focused on lower cost.
Now any project manager will tell you that when you make these kinds of changes, you are shifting the “iron triangle”. And there will be consequences. In this case, the shift of focus totally changed the company’s brand. Sadly, it has never recovered. In a last-ditch effort, it dug the hole further by partnering with a company known for low cost, “cheap” products. This further eroded their previous iron-clad credibility.
The company did not win entry into a new market as it had anticipated. Instead, it totally lost its identity; and, thus, its loyal niche market.
A similar shift has happened in the auto industry. As companies struggle to adapt to tighter margins, they change their product, service, culture, and branding. The leaders of one company decided to compete on a playing field that was not tested and proven for their market: electronics. To catch up to the electronic frenzy that other car makers were joining in, they forced the release of a new untested engine that is heavily dependent on these untested electronics. Company engineers expressed concerns, but their voices were overridden.
As a result of the premature release, owners are experiencing major issues. Customer loyalty is plummeting, and many are asking, “What happened to the company?”
The problem was, they lost focus on their own product, service, culture, and branding and tried to be like everyone else. What they didn’t realize was that others were having issues with the new electronics as well. Had they developed the engine with their normal standards and protocols, they would have the cutting-edge technology but on a tested and proven model. And they would not have customers asking, “What happened to the company?”
As the leader of a business, it is your responsibility to protect the product, service, culture, and branding that has made your company successful. Does this mean you should never make changes? Absolutely not. But it does mean you should know your niche and continue to improve within it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- What about your company stands out and makes it successful?
- Are you known for quality and reliability or volume and low cost?
- Are you known for full, customized service or limited options at high speed delivery, with great efficiency?
- Are you known for exquisite customer service or hands-off automation?
- What do your customers value most about the company?
- What do your employees value most about the company?
- Do you listen when your employees voice concerns or share ideas?
In a world of change, these are the unchangeables, the hallmarks of your success.
When it comes down to leading a company, it is not so much about keeping up with everyone else. It is more about communication – listening to your customers and clients and what they are telling you in their words and actions; and listening to your employees as they provide ideas and input based on their perspective. It is about knowing and protecting your hallmarks of success, all while growing within their boundaries.
For more resources on how you communicate to gain valuable insight, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.