This month we’re delving a little further into the way challenger brands create unassailable brand distinction by focusing on building the right company culture. Company culture tells employees everything they need to know about how to behave, and the way employees behave has everything to do with the way a brand performs. In this two-part series, we’ll share a couple of examples illustrating what happens when companies get this right, and what happens when it goes wrong.
Should you really always put the customer first?
There’s a long list of marketing pundits and authors who have made their fortunes selling the idea that putting customers first is the one true path to retail success. Without customers, there is no monetary support for the brand. Without happy customers, there’s no one to come back and buy whatever it is you’re selling, again. And again. And again. What could be more important to a company than building and supporting loyalty among those who patronize the brand? After all, without them, there is no us.
It’s easy to see how a company could arrive at that reasoning and completely buy into it. It’s misplaced and wrong, but understandable.
A number of years ago, I attended a national retailing conference and had the pleasure of hearing a talk given by Kip Tindell, one of the founders and, at the time, CEO of The Container Store. As the leader of a company that’s made Fortune Magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” ten times over, and one of the most respected corporate leaders in America, I couldn’t wait to hear Tindell’s secret to success.
I was not expecting to hear what he said.