In Part I, I shared the characteristics of amazing brands and how every brand has the opportunity to reach an amazing level. I also shared a great example with Zappos.com. They have reached an amazing level by inspiring and helping other companies to focus more on building a strong culture totally invested in their core values and delivering a WOW customer experience through passion and purpose.
In Part II, I want to share a couple other examples of amazing brands and what you can do to becoming an amazing brand too!
RITZ CARLTON has taken luxury to a new art and been known for continuously raising the bar on the quality of its operations and service. Their motto, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” and Gold Standards of Service are the foundation of the brand. They deliver on these daily. It’s no wonder they continue to sustain one of the highest levels of customer satisfaction in their industry. Through their relentless commitment to and employee passion for what they stand for and a rigorous focus on total quality management they have raised the bar and been awarded the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award not just once but twice—the only company to do so in the service category. That’s pretty amazing!
And, Ritz Carlton Hotels continually lets the competition know they’re a force to compete with and learn from by serving as a role model and leader in their industry. By constantly evaluating itself, the brand continues to elevate its luxury hotel service into an amazing brand experience generating highly inspired, engaged and empowered employees and customer brand champions who receive unparalleled excellence in service.
STARBUCKS continues to overcome the odds of turning a commodity experience into an inspiring brand experience where consumers will pay $4 for a cup of coffee. Author Joseph Michelli of The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary, says Starbucks “took an ordinary product like coffee and significantly added value by staging it in an environment of affordable luxury”. Indeed Starbucks has put a lot of effort into creating an experience that is reaffirmed daily through its business practices. Let’s not forget their ability to use imagination in expanding and their unique line of coffee offerings. Someone once told me that there are 30,000 ways for Starbucks to serve coffee. That’s pretty amazing.
Their mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. Starbucks has focused on creating and living up to what they stand for by investing in their internal infrastructure (e.g., their people and culture, systems and processes, and leadership). They are truly an amazing brand as they continue to create new ways to delight their customers—one cup at a time. Talk about caring about their people, they introduced benefits for part time employees, and added a ‘bean stock’ program making all employees partners in the business at a time in the 1990’s when companies were looking at all sorts of ways to cut-back, not increase employee costs. They have always viewed their employees as an investment because they bring the brand to life one cup at a time.
Starbucks demonstrates a strong point of view in wanting to make the world a better place through their social responsibility initiatives and 2015 global responsibility goals. They’re committed to the communities they serve to help create positive change, and finding ways to reduce their environmental impact and build greener stores, while inspiring others to take similar actions. And their commitment to ethical sourcing of coffee continues to contribute to building a better future for farmers they do business with. It doesn’t stop there. They’re also concerned about the wellness of others with a focus on creating healthier and balanced beverage options for their customers. As an amazing brand, they’re taking social responsibility to heart and to a new level because they care, not just because it’s the right thing to do.
These are just a few examples of amazing brands. You’re probably already thinking of some of your favorite ones and as you know amazing brands are not built in a day; they have taken years in the making, one step at a time, one customer at a time, one employee at a time, one passion, inspiration or cause at a time. I wish more businesses would think about what they stand for and bring good deeds to others to make the world better and more amazing for others.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BECOME AN AMAZING BRAND?
Start with getting crystal clear on what your brand stands for. If you really think about it, what you really stand for is deeply expressed through your brand’s core values, distinct personality, the standards you establish and the promise you make and deliver to your employees and customers—consistently.
You can kick-start your way to defining and clarifying your brand values, standards, differentiators, personality and promise, and much more with Brand DNA: Uncover Your Organization’s Genetic Code for Competitive Advantage. For more information, go to www.branddnabook.com. It’s a step-by-step process that will enable you to catapult your way to building the foundation for an amazing and authentic brand.
Study the practices of some of your favorite, amazing brands. You can learn from them but obviously you don’t want to imitate them. Take the opportunity to involve, empower and engage your employees in defining and building your amazing brand. Leverage the power of their collective ideas and you’ll be amazed at the results.