Look in the mirror: do you have a face? Are you relevant? Do your customers “know” you? Do they “like” you? Are your employees empowered or held back? These are the hard questions that brands in 2020 should be asking themselves. Unfortunately, many won’t like what they hear and learn. They won’t like their Q Score. They won’t like the answer to the ultimate question: How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?
For cloud businesses there is a shared accountability model around customer happiness, product performance, user experience, data security, and platform reliability. In an industry where our true core product offerings drive business operations and growth, trust is what we’re all selling.
Too many companies lose sight of this authentic reality. It’s obvious when startups especially fake their brand and in most modern industries the expectation has become that vendors are partners ultimately even more responsible than ever for outcomes of their clients. Because of this we all must try to not be too corporate, polished or slick with our brands and drumbeat marketing initiatives — or as an example, by putting social media policies in place on our talent to muzzle them, but by encouraging our staff to operate how they would with a group of their own friends.
Standing for something and being real is not for the weak or the fake and requires commitment, consistency, conviction and empowerment from leadership. At the end of the day, people buy from people. They stick with products and companies where they have personal relationships and feel comfortable. Nothing should be manufactured… it should be real, honest and genuine. The same goes for securing and retaining talent. Individual people and their tie-ins to your vision is what makes companies and brands enduring, regardless of constituent type. You need to connect and relate.
Shaking Things Up
“Thankfully, I’ve learned that in the real world of business, it’s better to rely on creativity, intuition and empathy.” – Richard Branson
Several years ago, I read a great interview with Richard Branson where the title “Richard Branson on What They Don’t Teach in Business School” says it all, explaining how Virgin’s dynamic and fresh approach to business and customers has made them one of the most successful corporations in history. They aren’t retreads. They are an original. At York IE and across our portfolio of startups, we’re trying to shake things up at our little company up in New Hampshire: change the game and be disruptive. We’ve done it before and we plan on doing it again and again.
We encourage you to always be on, always be available, always be an open book. It works. If the business world was more like high school, we’d be striving for “Best Personality” every single day. Would you vote for us? Would you vote for yourself in your market? Look in the mirror: Do you like what you see?