Overcome Your Blind Spot

The changes we’re suggesting will reverberate throughout an organization, shifting roles and responsibilities, budgeting processes, performance measurement systems, and more. This kind of broad-based reinvention is possible only when it also entails a fundamental change in perspective on the part of the executive team. People learning to drive realize quickly that they have a vulnerable area where their vision is hindered or obscured. For many management teams, brand is one of those blind spots. Executives must begin looking at the problem of brand management more deliberately and from the customer’s point of view.

In a customer-centered company, brands are important. But they are not all-important. Therefore, companies cannot be structured, staffed, and motivated to grow their brands, full stop. It is top management’s job to correct this focus, and only top management can do it. The first step is to develop a competent cadre of customer segment managers. The second is to hand them the purse strings. The third is to track and reward their progress using reliable metrics for customer and brand equity. Make these adjustments and you in turn will see changes—subtle at first, but substantial over time. Your people will understand that brands are only a means to an end, and the end is this: to create and cultivate profitable, long-term relationships with customers.

Understanding consumers is the key to future strategy, improved design processes, marketing effectiveness and financial profitability. Instead of the traditional product-centric business planning process, tomorrow’s sustainable brands must align their operations, production and key talent around consumers as their most important asset.


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