Brand Leadership: Take a Stand, and Lead

Apr 6, 2011 | Social Media Communities

Starbucks has over 20 million followers on Facebook. Impressive indeed, but that doesn’t mean they’re leading these people in a new direction.

Leadership requires something more than entertaining and engaging the masses. Leadership requires driving for change. Ian Schafer said in a podcast, “If you want to lead, your job is not to cater to the majority of people, and the way they are right now; it’s to cater to the majority, and the way they will be.”

Ian nailed it. Leadership is about leading. If you want to lead, take a stand and help people achieve their future potential.

We all have a choice

Not all brands want to be leaders. For many, it’s far more profitable to cater to the status quo. That’s ok.

But for other companies, the status quo is not enough. To quote Robert Frost,

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The road less travelled has risks. It has unforeseen obstacles and challenges, and requires change. But change forces growth and innovation. Brands with vision and a higher calling will naturally look for the road less travelled.

The question is what road do you want to travel? Both offer very relevant business models and brand strategies. It boils down to the vision of your company. What impact do you want to achieve?

For those who want to lead

Leadership may not be the easiest road, but it’s definitely the road to greatness. I wrote in an earlier post, we don’t talk about and admire companies that did what everyone else did. No, we admire successful companies that challenged the status quo.

We talk about Zappos, because they showed us a model for outstanding customer service and employee happiness. We talk about Apple, because they have created not one, but three major shifts in the consumer electronics category in less than a decade.

We can also look to smaller organizations that are making a small dent in the universe by following their passions. Interface Global, a carpet manufacturer, is passionate about sustainable, green manufacturing. Their mission is to “eliminate any negative impact Interface has on the environment by 2020.”

What’s fascinating about these companies is they are very public about their position, their vision and how they are leading the majority to a new future.

Turn your followership into participants

What I find so exciting about our interconnected world, and the power of social media, is we can convert followers into active participants.

Yes, there will always be a part of society who will resist change. But why settle? Eventually everyone will move forward, whether they like it or not. It’s the nature of life and evolution. Social media provides companies an opportunity to evangelize the new possibilities, and get people involved.

Rather than simply pitching and promoting, take a stand. Share your ideas. Ask for help. And use the power of the masses to take the road less travelled. It could make all the difference.

What are your thoughts?

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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