The Courage to be Bold


Have the Courage to be Bold 08-09-2011

August 9, 2011

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hanifin Loyalty blog.

Is your company bold? Does your company have the courage to be bold? At the recent Customer Relationship Management Conference, Shaun Smith, author and partner, Smith & Co., spent an energizing morning talking to attendees about what defines a bold organization and how its boldness manifests itself in how it relates to customers, prospects and employees alike.

Bold firms share the following characteristics. They…

  • Stand Up – They know what it is they believe in;
  • Stand Out – They are remarkable and different;
  • Stand Firm – They build communities for employees and customers to create sustainability around their brand.

Why is it so important to be bold in any one of these three ways? It’s because “Purpose” is to be considered the fifth ‘P’ of marketing. Now more than ever, companies need a raison d’etre to stand out and be compelling for their customers and prospects.

Mr. Smith shared an example to illustrate each point:

Stand Up:
The main value of the Six Senses resort in Maldives is concern for the environment and for an exquisite customer experience. When guests arrive by seaplane, they are given a bag for their shoes in keeping with the “no news and no shoes” policy. There is no television or any sort of outside access because the purpose of this resort is luxurious relaxation. In respecting the environment, they are vigorously devoted to a recycling and reuse program. Fifty percent of profits they’ve made from their own purified water go directly to parts of the world where there is no access to fresh water. All this reinforces the brand message of “intelligent luxury.”

Stand Out:
Burberry stands out because it engages in infectious communication. They create “wow” in as many ways as possible in their customer experience. Their has 400,000 loyal customers who uploaded pictures of themselves onto the site. Also, they brought the masses to the runway by having 3D fashion show screening events, showing these same fashion shows real time on the internet and added the ability to order Burberry product from an iPad app.

Stand Firm:
Zappos “stands firm” in that they walk their talk. They are committed to their culture, not only with how they interact with their customers, but also how they engage with each other inside the company. Culture is so important to Zappos that if it appears during training that a new hire will not be a good cultural fit, they will give that person $2,000 and terminate the relationship. From real time engagement with customers on social platforms to quirky office meetings and recognition activities within headquarters, Zappos is able to continually reaffirm its corporate identity and stand firm as it recommits to its values.

Discussion questions:  What defines a ‘bold’ organization? Is the treatment of existing customers, prospective customers or employees most critical in building a ‘bold’ enterprise?

My post:

The reason this subject keeps repeating itself is due to the fact that most retail leaders continue to ignore the painfully obvious:  Bold approaches to service start with leaders with a bold commitment to exceptional employees.  Paraphrasing the brilliant approach at a bold (though non-retail) purveyor of extraordinary service, Ritz-Carlton:

  1. Have leaders who believe the vision in their hearts and model that belief with everything they say and do.
  2. Select the best employees and support them in every way
  3. Consistency and repetition of the core beliefs and values

You could also call this courageous leadership.  Courage to have, know and continuously strengthen your organization’s values and reason for being.  Courage to understand what it takes to be exceptional in your business – leaders and staff alike – and consistently hire and train for this.  Courage to never waver from either, despite any and all obstacles.  Stand up, stand out, and stand firm indeed!  So simple and yet so elusive.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

Go to the full discussion at  Have the Courage to be Bold


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