Culture and brand. Two concepts that can be difficult to define, yet both will have a powerful impact on the success of your practice.
Tony Hsieh led Zappos from $0 in sales to nearly $1 Billion in annual sales in less than 5 years. They didn’t achieve this by creating an innovative new product, utilizing exotic marketing efforts or by deploying “disruptive’ technology, but rather by selling shoes. Their brand and competitive advantage were built by delivering legendary customer service and experience. Zappos’ loyal customers consistently reject lower prices on the same products offered by competitors.
Hsieh maintains they accomplished this goal by focusing on the creation of incredible company culture, not by focusing on the brand. He says, “Company culture is our number one priority. If we get that right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service and building an enduring brand will happen naturally.” Amazon agreed, purchasing the company for $1.2 Billion while allowing Zappos to continue to operate independently.
If you want to build a powerful, differentiated, lasting brand for your practice, start by understanding that your culture and brand are not separate, but interrelated. Begin your efforts internally. Define your culture, Prioritize it. Consistently nurture it and protect it.
From Zappos to Southwest Airlines to Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, companies who consistently outperform their competitors understand the power and importance of culture. In contrast, if you want to know what it's like to experience a company culture completely disconnected from their brand, just ask anyone who’s ever flown “the friendly skies of United”!