Brand Matters: An Optimism Retrospective
I have a sign above my desk that cannot be argued with: "A year from now you may wish you had started today." Author Karen Lamb's advice gently nudges me toward action steps no matter the size of my goal, nor the type, personal or professional. It is advice I share with my clients, as well.
As 2009 wraps up, I want to ask you a question: What did you start this year?
Many business owners looked at 2009 as a "glass-half-empty" kind of year. Auto firms, banks and Wall Street brokerages were forced to start paying for their sins through closures, layoffs and government restructurings. Other firms seized the economic tumultuousness as a "glass-half-full" time to do the things they'd been planning to do, meaning to do, knew they needed to do or thought they better do before their competitors beat them to the punch.
Companies like Amazon, Best Buy, Campbell's, McDonald's and Netflix can look back on 2009 with long lists of new and continuing corporate brand strengthening activities. Whether introducing new technology, more viral employee communications programs, or game-changing product enhancements and reformulations, or offering a $1 million prize to improve an experience, these companies lived and breathed optimism.
"Optimism is essential," Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos declared, and, indeed, for these forward-thinking companies, a glass-half-full perspective nudged their brands toward new and significant breakthroughs. They were not paralyzed by the past, the present or by fear. They took action to get and stay closer to their customers. They took action to play in the game of the new normal where customers are much more conscious and intentional about their purchases.
As I write this, I can hear glass-half-empty readers objecting: "But what if my pockets aren't as deep as Amazon's or those other firms'? What if my company isn't as well-staffed or as well-funded as these giants?"
Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of creative branding and merchandising consultancy IER Partners. For 20+ years, Andrea’s joy has been inspiring clients with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She’s the author of two books about brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants and ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.