03 Apr CEO’s build brands
One of great pleasures in my professional life was working for a smallish bank that shifted from zero to hero (recognised by independent research as the leading business banking brand) within a time of 2 years or so.
We didn’t have zillions of Rands to spend on advertising. What we did have was a very tight focus and a collective will to succeed beyond imagination and expectation. We also understood that our clients – mostly business owners – used products like finance, overdrafts, forex etc. but their actual needs revolved around convenience, security, understanding and accessibility. How the hell does a banker know what a business owner goes through? Well, we made it our business to know.
So how does the CEO fit into this?
To get an entire organisation behind the single-minded aim of changing from product-centred to client-centric in EVERY thing that it did cannot be done by a Marketing Manager. Or even a Brand Manager. You see, you have to get Operations, IT, Credit Risk, Finance, HR, Marketing, Business Processes, Legal etc. understanding why they exist and what’s important. Only the CEO can get the entire team to fly one flag.
Then the CEO went one step further. He started to spend quality and meaningful time with our business owner clients. He was the tangible and intangible leader of the brand, presenting our closeness and alignment to our clients. How many business owners can say that they ever spent quality, meaningful time with the CEO of their bank?
Message to CEO’s?
Don’t sit back and leave “brand” to the Marketing Manager. And before you get too caught up in the lights of fresh logos and creative lines, sit back and think really hard about what your customers really want. And then lead the charge to deliver it.