Often, when talking to businesses about their brand, the focus is on the brand identity or the logo. This is understandable, as this is the visible manifestation of the business and should reflect the organisation, its culture and values.
However, just like a book, the brand identity is just the cover and the real brand comes from what is inside and must be consistent across all touch points for the business.
There have been many examples of where an organisation has had issues due to many reasons, oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, forcing farmers to accept lower costs for their crops and recently, when the CEO is accused of sexual misconduct, as was the case for the CBI.
All of these events will damage the reputation and brand of the organisation and with the CBI, the ex boss, Tony Danker, has said that his reputation has been destroyed by the complaints. You may think he deserves this, but the impact on the CBI has been enormous. Coming back from an event like this can take years for the business and in some cases, they will never fully recover.
Whether you think the CBI were right to sack Mr Danker immediately or should have waited till the full details of the complaints were clarified, is a moot point. However, when it comes to managing the reputation of the organisation, the question is, having taken such swift action, has this helped to protect the brand and its reputation or not. In the immediate aftermath of that particular case, several large organisations put their relationship with the CBI on hold, including the government, but more importantly, how can any business trust an organisation that is supposed to represent them when they have this type of culture within it.
More of my work in the past few years has involved working with my clients to develop CSR/ESG strategies and understandably, the focus has been on the environment and mental health. However, to have a genuine strategy that delivers positive impact on the community, it is essential that your internal community, your staff, are protected at all levels with a structure and training in place to prevent any abuse or discrimination.
Managing your brand effectively will have a positive impact on all areas of your business, it will increase sales, increase productivity and make you more attractive to potential employees and help you retain your existing team.
So, when you are next reading about a business that has had issues, either with its directors or one of its suppliers because the right checks and systems aren’t in place, consider if your business and your brand are set up well. Remember, it only takes one bad contact with your brand and it can have a massive impact on the performance of the business