Did you know that 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years? Transformative technologies are driving commoditization in every industry and as new business models are conceived and new entrants join the marketplace, the scope of competition expands. Coupled with a work force seeking meaning in their work and customers demanding brand accountability, companies and organizations struggle to maintain relevance and sustained financial health.
At Northbound, we believe the ultimate driver of shareholder value is stakeholder relevance. Brands need to ground themselves in a clear reason for being, resolving pain points in the shared experience of customers and in culture at large. We’re not alone, modern business concepts such as Simon Sinek’s “Infinite Game” revolve around the idea of having a business purpose beyond growth, one that is about doing something purposeful in the world. Long-term business health depends on operationalizing this kind of brand “goodness” in the world through everything a brand makes, says and does. When you achieve this level of cross-company execution against your brand goodness, that’s brand integrity.
Brand integrity is in high demand.
Brand integrity delivers sustainable business health in today’s world. Long gone are the days of being able to get away with bad actors in your supply chain, poor social justice practices in your HR organization, or a “flywheel” style business that speaks out of two sides of its mouth – saying one thing to those customers with whom they monetize, and another thing to those customers to whom they serve.
Brand integrity, whether you have it or not, is on increasingly high demand from younger generations – whether they’re your future employees or future customers – you need brand integrity to capture and keep them.
Rebecca Henderson, Harvard University professor and advisor to some of the world’s largest companies, has said, “I spent twenty years of my life working with firms that were trying to transform themselves. I learned that having the right strategy was important, and that redesigning the organization was also critical. But mostly I learned that these were necessary but not sufficient conditions. The firms that mastered change were those that had a reason to do so: the ones that had a purpose greater than simply maximizing profits. People who believe that their work has a meaning beyond themselves can accomplish amazing things, and we have the opportunity to mobilize shared purpose at a global scale.”
Brand integrity is a required ingredient before you can reap the benefits of brand for your business.
You can only realize the benefits of a strong brand if every part of your organization is working from the same song sheet. That’s brand integrity. When your product teams are operating with the same intention and understanding as your human resource teams, and when your sales team is aligned with your marketing team on who your customer is, what matters to them in the market, and how you are unique and meaningful to them, then you can see the broad efficiencies that are gained through the intangible value of brand.