Opinion

Brand > Rules

20 July, 2015 Share socially
To them, my working world is a Wild West of make-it-up- as-you-go-along that lacked the rules and rigour of their world, the world of money, markets and machines.

So it is with some irony, as the dust begins to settle following the 2008 crash, that it could well be that ‘brand’ is emerging as the ultimate and perhaps only reliable and enforceable measure of corporate and organisational good practice and order.

What the crash revealed was not just dark practices but entire dark markets. Places that run on speed where slight, almost imperceptible discrepancies between prices could be manipulated for huge and unfair gain by those with the right code, technology and morals not to care. In short, people and whole organisations impervious to both industry regulations and moral normality, for whom winning also required the absolute defeat of competitors.

The crash has revealed the flakiness of supposedly hard and fast written rules and regulations – and their inability to bend to accommodate human fallibility, stupidity and criminality.

This is where the intangibility – and flexibility – of brands could provide the answer in a world where tangible regulation has, and continues to, fail.

Brand connects and involves the boardroom, the wider organisation and it customers and consumers in a transparent and all-encompassing ‘contract’. Done well, there can be no discrepancy or misinterpretation between what is acceptable behaviour and what is patently wrong. While brands can be written down, they go beyond written rules and this is their strength over the ‘letter of the law’.

Done well, brands built on clear purpose, values, positioning and personality; prevent misinterpretation or misrepresentation – willful or otherwise. Done well, brands are able to clearly and timelessly establish what matters and what doesn’t right across an organisation’s value chain. Done well, brands makes it easy for employees, partners, customers and consumers to know what they are right to expect and right to call out as wrong.

Whether, in the face of vast personal gain, the likes of Goldman Sachs actually care about their brand remains moot but it just might be that the world moves on without them, however much money they make.

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