LONDON — It’s been a busy few months. Apologies for not having written sooner. When there is a lot on you sometimes don’t get the thoughts through to the page.
A stack of un-posted blogs litter my inbox.
I don’t want to confuse you about brand. Able and How is not a ‘brand’ business. But because we are almost always concerned with how a business operates, the way it sees itself and is seen by others, brand is important.
I am a student of ‘nationalism’, having worked in politics in Quebec — one of many states-within-a-state that has struggles with it’s sense of identity. And so today I am not writing about geopolitics OR about brand… is that clear?
What we do see often is businesses within a business. It may be a branch or office that is different. It may be a division that feels in some way apart from the rest. It may even be a sub-brand — like Netflix within Amazon, for example.
What we find in these situations is a tension between two or more factions within a single business. Where enough space is left, where there is open air, new things tend to grow.
My favourite is still the perhaps apocryphal story about the African country manager who thought it would be nice to adjust the Barclays logo to represent the unique nature of his part of the world. So communications started going out with a cow sitting on top of the Barclays logo.
More recently a CEO has said to us in an interview: “They’re wholly-owned, for heaven’s sake, why do they refer to us as “them”!?”
Does that make sense so far?
Let me add one more wrinkle.
People are increasingly becoming their own brands. I’m not the first to say it, and it can still be argued. But with social media and the explosion of information on the Internet, individuals are “managing their profile” every day.
* What do I want to say about myself on LinkedIn?
* How do I characterise myself on Facebook?
And so some companies, like Google or FedEx, have been trying to become part of those personal brands. “I am a Googler…” etc.
Of course the company is attached to that person at the individual’s discretion. The company has little control or influence in that situation.
So, the question of the day is (if you have made it this far?): How does a brand put up border stations to maintain it’s ‘national’ integrity?
How does a company control internal insurgents to avoid ‘separatist’ behaviour?
And the answer is: It doesn’t.
You knew that already didn’t you?
More discussion to follow. If you like.