Brand and Image
Proving the point that brand and image excellence comprise a timely topic in today’s world, two Memphis-based CEO’s each gave their spin on the same day, three hours apart.
As a New York Times best-selling author, internationally acclaimed speaker, captivating storyteller and friend to many people around the world, Don Huston’s name itself evokes a strong brand and image. He’s earned the right to be called an expert on the topic of brand and image, and how its excellence impacts the bottom line.
Brand and Image: Rise and Fall
Recently Hutson shared one of his classic, entertaining stories about the rise and fall of brand and image, illustrated by his loyalty and respect for a particular hotel and resort chain. Recounting a 24-hour period, Don shared his varied customer service experiences, colorfully describing how missteps by some employees dropped the brand and image score, while stellar, professional service restored it to previous high levels, step-by-step.
The take-away? Brand and image are fluid. Our stock can rise or fall, hour by hour, based on the promises we keep, or the expectations we fail to meet.
“Pristine” Brand and Image
Across town at lunch, I met Richard Shadyac, Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Shadyac spoke with authority and passion about brand and image. He explained how important it is to protect the St. Jude brand and why: so much rides on the “pristine” brand and image of the hospital.
Although St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases, families of St. Jude patients never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay at St. Jude. A bold promise when operating costs are $1.7 million per day! That’s an expectation tied to St. Jude’s unique brand and image, said Shadyac.
Brand and Image Impact the Bottom Line
Shadyac, a business-minded attorney with a big heart, went on to share facts about donations in today’s troubled economy. In earlier years, donors might give to five charities or more. Today, donors limit charitable giving to an average of three organizations: first, their church or other faith-based community. Secondly, their Alma Mater (their own, or their children’s schools, as life circumstances change). Third place donation? Up for grabs.
ALSAC’s goal is to make sure St. Jude receives the prized third-place donation. Shadyac believes that St. Jude’s pristine brand and image — tied to heart-tugging stories of challenge and celebration — are responsible for the increases in donations during the past 12 months.
Keep Promises, Meet Expectations of Your Brand and Image
Whether the brand and image are attached to a business, a charity, or a person, the take-away is the same: positive brand and image consistency are paramount to success.
The bottom-line take-away? I’ll stick with what Don Hutson’s story illustrated: brand and image are fluid. Our stock can rise or fall, hour by hour, based the the promises we keep, or the expectations we fail to meet.
Thank goodness we have Don Hutson of U.S. Learning and Richard Shadyac of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, two excellent storytellers who connected with audience members through their passion, and shared understanding about the power of brand and image.
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