Ten Ways Leading Brands Lead

TopTenList Depending on how you look at it, the protracted difficult economic conditions and the world events we are experiencing can be both a burden and an opportunity.

This is a good time for businesses that are getting back to basics to step on the commerce pedal and take the lead. In times of uncertainty, new leaders are made.

Leaders confront the brutal facts of reality by delivering true solutions and not solutions in search of a problem.

They are not discouraged by limiting conversations both in social channels and those fueled in mainstream media-tainment. After all, they are a reflection of existing models, and not a conversation of what is possible.

Leading brands, and leading businesses, lead

While we continue to see marketers enamored with shiny objects, we're starting to see a new type of entrepreneur emerging:

CEOs and principals grounded in solid product utility obsession, professionals who have already tested their mettle in the market, who understand technology, and undestand the modern marketing method.

Which is why they:

(1) listen aggressively

Are you making what the customer wants to do the most important part of the product? Do you spend time listening, observing, and anticipating, not just monitoring? Do you match your business processes to the right executions?

(2) communicate purpose and meaning

In much of my research, I am finding that these should be the underpinnings of a valuable strategy both with employees and with customers. Who cares when you start a blog, or join Twitter, if you don't have a plan on purpose and meaning?

Drop the fluff, go for the real stuff.

(3) lead by example

Do you set the tone for the industry? Do you demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm? Are you doing everything you are asking your customers and employees to do? We demonstrate our truest colors and values in difficult times. Your actions will follow you long after the troubles are gone.

Done with the right intent this will make you influential.

(4) take calculated risks

It's no secret that we become even more conservative in difficult times. You should capitalize on the lack of resources to become more focused and efficiencies, yes, and experiment a little. Times of chaos are ripe with opportunities for creativity and innovation.

Prepare for when things pick up.

(5) make frenemies

Use your power to highlight others and become more open to new ideas, regardless of where they come from. With the movements in mobility, open content, and portability, why should we stay stuck with outdated competitive models?

Go for horizontal growth and alliances.

(6) create a culture of trust

Do the right thing for your people and for the organization. Be consistent. Do what you say you will do, both on a personal level, and as a way of conducting business. If the people three levels down from the action don't understand the impact of their work, create and promote a way to help them see it.

(7) tell the business story

Branding is about being true to the business. There is no better way to do that than telling your own story with every action. Focus on your own DNA, the problem you sole, and you will find it easier to show what makes you different, reliable, interesting, worth buying, etc.

(8) rally people around a common goal

Do you help increase contacts between members of your first community, team members? Too many companies are still very much organized in silos internally and continue to project that split externally. Unity is important, and so is holding everyone to the same high standards.

(9) improve people's lives

Connection with purpose is important. Is that technology, product, or service going to improve someone's life? The best metrics are qualitative in kind; what people talk about, share, and recommend. Which is why the leading brands have the strongest evangelists. 

(10) have a sense of humor

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. You should not take yourself too seriously. It's good for your health and helps with the human side of things.

The marketplace is flooded with "me, me, me" and "me, too" brands. Leadership is not about talking, it's about doing. It's about commitment, conviction, and work.

Hard economic times call for focused boldness and kind leadership. Can your brand do it?


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