I spent the last few days at EMC's Leadership Meeting -- where about 300 of EMC's execs came together to discuss strategy and offerings for the coming year.
The highlight was a presentation made by Frank Hauck, which, via a series of short and compelling stories from his 20 years with the company, brought to life (and reinforced) who EMC is as a company and as a culture.
One such story was how and why a particular sales rep, whom I'll refer to as Tony, left a competitor some years ago to join EMC. The story went like this:
Tony had a meeting with a CIO of a global bank. The meeting opened up by the CIO saying, "You know, I came into work today and my message light was on. The voice-mail was from EMC's CEO, Dick Egan. Dick had called to tell me one of the EMC storage products was down in my South African data center. He said the EMC team was on it, wouldn't rest until it was resolved, and if the customer had any questions or concerns, he could reach Dick at the following number."
The CIO then said to Tony, "I didn't even know I had an outage." he continued, "Tony, who from your company will call me if and when one of your products has an issue?"
Tony quit his company that day and set out to join EMC. He knew he had no answer to that question, and that he, too, wanted to work with a company which was so focused on customer caring.
What did this story have to do with GrumpyStorage's new post? Everything.
BRAND ENGAGEMENT at its Grounded Best
Gumpy's story is a perfect example, I believe, of Genuine Brand Engagement: one that is testimonial based, given of free will, and centered on an attribute that that is core to a brand's desired and true identity.
Before reading what Grumpy has to say, note his blog template tells readers to "Expect general grumpiness, frequent rants, and plenty of complaints & challenges re vendor FUD and hype."
I spent 3 days the other week in Prague at EMC's annual EMEA Customer Council.This really is one of the best organised & structured council/feedback/user-group sessions I've ever seen with any supplier throughout my career. I'm lucky enough to have been invited to attend for many years and it's always been more than worthwhile. Despite EMC's somewhat historic arrogant image they really are actively listening, engaging in dialogue, taking feedback and changing approaches & technologies. In short customer feedback really does make things happen.
It's also clear from the past results, the level and qty of mngt attending, level of investment and detail of follow-up actions it's obvious EMC take this very seriously.
During the sessions there were many points that got my mind racing, and at least one occasion I was so shocked with the dialogue I was stunned into being speechless.
All in these 3 days tend to be the most valuable conference / workshop days I spend during the year, I hope they continue, and I hope more suppliers adopt the approach!
Three Things I believe about Brands and Branding:
I love brand synergy! While even the Ritz Carlton, The Marine's, and Nordstrom don't get brand intent and brand experience synergy 100% of the time, like EMC, it is clear that they try their best, with the best of intent. AND it begins inside, by knowing who you are and what you stand for.
- BRANDING STARTS ON THE INSIDE.
- GOOD BRANDING IS NOT ADVERTISING OR ANYTHING THAT TELLS or SELLS. IT SIMPLY IS.
- A GOOD BRAND IS A GENUINE, TRUSTING, MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP.
----------------- Talk Back ----------------
What is your favorite definition of brand?
How are good brands built, in your view?
How expensive is branding? How do you quantify, or itemize, brand spend? Are your employees factored as an active element in your branding approach?
-- Polly Pearson