LAS VEGAS — A paradox of company growth is that oftentimes companies that grow the most vigorously do it not via slick marketing but “by delivering great service,” said John Moore, a onetime Starbucks marketing executive who gave a keynote at the California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ annual meeting on Tuesday.
He pointed, approvingly, to a quotation from Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard: “Marketing is too important to leave to the marketing department.”
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To Moore, the fast track to success is not to follow branding strategies, “but to pursue being strategies,”’ that is, to seek to excel as a business – which means delighting members on a continuing basis – and from there, success will follow, he said.
Do just three things “and you don’t have to worry about creating a strong brand.” Moore counted off his must-do’s:
* Make money
* Make members happy
* Make employees happy
That last, he said, is crucial. Competitors can steal your ideas but they won’t steal the people that differentiate an organization.
He urged credit union executives to write down five core beliefs “you will never compromise. Look at that list regularly.”
Moore pointed to Whole Foods, where he also worked. It’s a company that faces vast competition as everybody from Walmart to Trader Joe’s has hopped on the organics express.
So what did Whole Foods do? It doubled down on its core beliefs, writing up a long list of ingredients that will never be in foods allowed onto its shelves and unveiling a broad program to foster more humane treatment of animals involved in producing foods for its stores.
Are those steps expensive? You bet, said Moore, but he stressed “your brand story has to be more than low prices.”
Moore, author of "Tribal Knowledge", said that great brand stories often involve making lives better and righting wrongs.
His take away message is that in growth there is a paradox. Big companies must forever work to think small – to stay in touch with their consumers. Small companies work to seem bigger, to seem fully capable of meeting their consumers’ range of needs.