The importance of a brand to stand for something more than its product or service is almost mandatory these days. Many think that this is a relatively new concept to stand for something outside of what you sell but it’s not. What we believe, when we truly believe it almost always shows through what we do. For some it’s customer service, quality products, donating portions of profit, volunteering time, or lobbying for greater change. I believe at some point it’s natural to move our businesses beyond our product or service, not only natural but a duty. For if we only believe in our brand, our product, our service, but never stand for something other than ourselves then why do it? I’ve run enough businesses to understand that while money is very important it isn’t everything. Spending the weekend with my family, enjoying a meal with friends, exploring nature, learning new things are all more important than the dollar figures I bring in. While it does take money to do these things I know I will probably never find fame, see big riches, or be a part of a global relief initiative but I do know that in my local community I will bring change. In my family I will make more of an impact than my brand/business ever will.
Do you think the families of great people we look up to would exchange the product of their time for the person themselves? It’s easy to tout rhetoric about caring but it’s another to put our ideology into practice.
The reason I chose to discuss this is because what you do outside of your business is just as important as what you do in it. It’s what helps to create the brand. It helps people decide to use you instead of your competitor. There are things in our lives that make us passionate about things that are bigger than ourselves. For me, there have been unfortunate events that transpired in my childhood that spurred a passion to help those who cannot help themselves. It directly influenced my decisions on how we run our business, how we spend our money, how we give our time and our skills. For some they see my unfortunate situation and they feel sorry, they want to comfort me, they change the way they treat me, they see me as damaged and abnormal. Sure, some of that is true but it doesn’t prevent me from changing my life and the lives of those around me. With every business I’ve been a part of it has been unequivocally imperative to stand for more than my bottom line or shareholders. I still believe, very much so, to be financially sound and responsible but the collection and dynasty building of money is not my focus. It has always been my goal to build business with integrity and purpose.
Our brand is about developing and marketing other brands through many avenues but never has it stopped us from stopping to help out our local chamber of commerce, run a foundation to help local businesses thrive, volunteering our time to help foster children and those affected by abuse. Our brand stands for nothing more than mere graphics and eloquently crafted words if we do not believe and stand for something beyond ourselves.
When ruminating upon the existence and purpose of your brand I believe it must always exceed your earnings. It is this type of purpose that provides great brands that elusive “X” factor that so many seek. When you work and press forward to exceed your fiduciary responsibilities and to achieve philanthropic goals, it will pay off. You should not feel compelled to share your good deeds to your customer base but it is equally important to inform them that you are doing something and caring about something other than their money.
To develop a strong brand, it is more important now than ever to be a part of something larger than your organization. Get involved and start documenting what you’re doing. There’s a fine line between trying to do good while showing others that you’re caring and doing good for the only purpose to be recognized for marketing purposes. Make sure you do the former.
Then take your documentation and share it with your customers through email newsletters, print material, blog posts, or a complete section on your website. This helps get the word out and shows your customers that you care about something more than their money. It’s always refreshing to see a company use advertising and marketing money to show how they’re making a difference. You should too, if not, you’re missing a big opportunity to not only do good but to market your customers effectively.