Comstock's magazine 0219 - February 2019 - Page 28

n LEADERSHIP CHANGE YOUR BRAND FROM THE INSIDE OUT To build authentic brand equity, you must first build the culture you want BY Jessica Kriegel 28 | February 2019 A FEW MONTHS AGO, I ATTENDED AN EXPERT PANEL ON THE TOPIC OF CRAFTING THE IDEAL CORPORATE CUL- TURE. To my surprise, these executives instead spent the entire discussion talk- ing about their brand. The person sit- ting next to me leaned over and asked: “Are they confused, or ahead of their time?” It was a good question. While most organizations think of brand and culture as separate ideas supported by separate teams, they are remarkably interconnected and must be aligned for long-term sustainability. Ultimately, if your culture and brand are not aligned, any brand equity is in- authentic. While it might be possible to fool your clients for a period of time, the truth inevitably comes out. One famously disastrous example is Wells Fargo. The organization had a cutthroat sales culture that ultimately resulted in opening fraudulent accounts to meet unrealistic quotas. However, its external brand was of a traditional, wholesome organization. The deceptive business practices were exposed in 2016 and resulted in $185 million fines by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Customers felt betrayed. Imagine the difficulty Wells Fargo then faced in try- ing to rebuild its brand. Their struggle continues to this day. Simply put, a brand is what your cli- ent thinks of when they hear your com- pany’s name — how you’re perceived on