Brand Integrity Case Study
According to Peters and Willis (DATE OF BOOK PUBLICATION), staff no longer trusts a brand if, upon layoffs and budget cuts, focus becomes on bottom line and people are ignored.
A leader is responsible for his brand status during economic shifts. Talent should be cared for since staff satisfaction impacts on customer's brand experience. A leader should, during an economic shift, perform five actions: (1) lift spirit and refresh connection to brand; (2) come down to frontlines; (3) emphasize brand promise and role of everyone; (4) perform an appraisal of impact on brand; and (5) design a course of action. Competition attracts customers. Excellence is achieved by aligning brand, talent and customer experience.
Excellence Audit assesses a company's performance. Five main components shape, upon interaction, a winning company: (1) focus on excellence during economic shifts; (2) Expectation change according to changing operating conditions; (3) staff commitment to agreed direction; (4) staff focus in creating value for customers; and (5) whether staff is making optimum contribution. Excellence Audit is a roadmap amid an extremely confusing business ecosystem.
Brand Inside is about staff being customers who precede marketplace customers. Satisfying customers is about satisfying oneself. Job One is self-motivation. True leaders seek to express selves in full. Great external focus can be achieved only by great internal focus. Thus, everybody can be a leader.
A 10-question quiz can be used to assess how a company and staff are connected to purpose and brand promise. Consolidated results could be used for more promising developments.
A constant business dilemma, branding – part of broader marketing and advertising efforts – is a usual casualty during crises and strong economic shifts. Given how executives care most about bottom line, i.e. financial statements, internal morale is usually lost and ignored. Understandably, executives do not mean to be inhuman. However, few leaders only emerge during crises. Only executives of genuine caliber bend over and lend a hand to a panicked and confidence-losing staff. This is, in fact, good verbiage.
In reality, prior to an imminent collapse, bottom line is all what big players care about. Unrelenting about market share and profit margins, big players, paradoxically, are first to lay off staff and cut budgets. In start-ups and small enterprises, however, overall morale stands out as a paramount value. A smaller company's management is, indeed, part of staff. The promise in brand is still fresh. Everyone just needs – based on sheer professional and personal – to stand ground for survival. History of business cycle upturns and downturns speak volumes about both bigger and smaller players' performance and action.
During and after 2008 financial crisis, America's auto, banking and realty industries' bigger players showed all exemplary actions of not standing up to brand's promise. Chrysler, Fannie Mae, Bank of America laid off staff by thousands and cut budgets to historical records. As much smaller businesses struggled to stay in business and kept staff, bigger ones received more bail-outs and "re-structured".
A feature of note, as well, is accountability of executives to stakeholders. Under excessive pressure during economic shifts, executives of bigger companies are pushed to bottom line, at staff's expense. Often, paradoxically, board directors are helpless in face of powerful stakeholders.
Overall, brand integrity is a question of great executive difficulty. True, only genuine leaders can steer wheels off a looming abyss. Yet, unless corporate culture is one infused by personal and professional commitments invested in business, brand integrity can be something of daydreaming when livelihoods are at stake.
Peters, T., & Willis, V. (YEAR OF BOOK PUBLICATION). Brand Integrity. In LAST NAME OF EDITOR, INITIAL LETTER OF EDITOR'S FIRST NAME (Eds.), Title of Book (119-120). LOCATION OF PUBLICATION: PUBLISHER.
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