This is the subsequent article to the previously-released “The Making of a Power Brand.” In that article we highlighted a very popular brand, Starbucks, and discussed the indispensable mode of operation that its founder and CEO, Howard Schultz, had to use in order to keep his company at the forefront of a market that is inundated with competitors selling a commodity that is as common and ordinary as a cup of coffee.
We previously reduced the many actions Mr. Schultz endeavored to achieve in his company to just one, and it all boiled down to his one pervasive operating basis: quality in everything Starbucks.
That mindset—quality first and foremost—is keenly pinpointed in an article by L. Ron Hubbard titled “Artistic Presentation,” wherein Mr. Hubbard isolates the underlying problem which has reduced—and in some cases eliminated—the expectation of quality out of many executives’ thinking and which is plaguing a large number of businesses today.
Mr. Hubbard describes it this way:
“The whole yap of TV and newspapers is directed toward reducing effort…we suffer from the bait—‘do it the easy way’…Do it in the way that will demand the least effort.”
That mantra, which is so prevalent in society today, is the antithesis of the idea of creating a superlative or even merely a high-quality product or service. It happens to be the foundation of exactly what it takes to minimally be in the game if your goal is to create a brand that stands out from the crowd—a power brand.
To achieve power brand status, one must embrace the idea of creating products and services that are of such quality that they enter into the realm of art. When you look at a Ferrari 488 GTB, you see more than just a car; you see an aesthetic work of art encased in today’s most advanced automotive technology. The same can be said for an Oscar de la Renta gown—it’s much more than just a beautiful evening dress—or Patek Philippe’s Grandmaster Chime watch priced at $2.6 million—it’s an actual work of art.
But no one is trying to imply that quality means inordinately expensive. As pointed out previously, that same expression and reach for quality that you see in a window at a Tiffany jewelry store can even be seen and experienced in something as mundane as having a cup of coffee.
Mr. Hubbard gives us a few tips for establishing the mindset that opens the door to creating and offering quality products and services. He stated:
“First and foremost realize that in presenting something, the best way isn’t always the easy way. The best way is only the more effective way.”
He went on to say,
“Work out first what effect you are trying to produce. Then when you’ve got that all taped, only then consider the easiest way to do it. And never consider the easier way at all if it is less effective.
“Art takes that extra bit, that extra care, that bit more push for it to be effective art. There is no totally easy way to produce a desirable effect.”
This same frame of mind should be more than just yours; the people in your employ should also be educated and pushed to strive for that same level of quality in all that they do. It may only take one person to lead the charge, but the individuals backing you up also have to take up the call to action.
Create an ethos (, a business culture that demands and expects quality in everything from the environment in which the organization operates to the way individuals dress and behave, culminating in the products you produce.
If you’re ready to begin the process to elevate your brand to the status of power brand—with Mr. Hubbard’s direction in mind—review what you’re offering—your products or services—and ask yourself:
- Is it of the highest quality?
- Is it artistic?
If the answer is “yes,” then take it a step further and assume the point of view of your client, and be completely honest with yourself when you ask:
“Do I, as the customer, really see this product (or service) as something of the highest order—a very high-quality offering?”
What does it really take to create a power brand? Well, for Mr. Howard Shultz of Starbucks fame, it took a fanatical passion and pursuit of quality.
How To Create Your Own Power Brand
Here are the fundamental steps that you can take to begin the process for your company:
- 1. First, clearly delineate what products or services you produce. Describe them exactly.
- 2. Now put these products/services in order of importance as to which one needs the most quality improvement or which one would benefit the organization most if improved.
- 3. Once you’ve picked that one product or service, write out the steps to be taken in order to improve its quality. This will take intelligence, confront of what can be improved, and the ability to think in sequences to accomplish.
- 4. Now create targets to be done based on your analysis above, assign someone to be responsible for each target, and give them a target date.
- 5. Follow up on each target to ensure it’s being worked on and that the target date can be met.
- 6. With those targets completed, inspect the updated product or service and ensure that it meets your new standard of quality.
- 7. Offer the updated product or service to your clients on a pilot basis, and gather feedback. Note whether they’re happy or if further refinements need to be made.
- 8. Now determine whether there’s an easier way to produce the new higher-quality product without any compromise in quality. If so, make adjustments as needed so that you can streamline the process.
- 9. When the newly upgraded product/service meets the new standard and the production process has been finalized, document every step of the process so that quality control can be run as a checklist in future instances to ensure that quality is constantly maintained.
- 10. Rinse and repeat the above steps until all of your products, services and production lines have been elevated to a level of quality that surpasses all previous efforts, and the results could be viewed by others as: artistic.
Now you’re getting somewhere! Here’s to an adventure in your own pursuit and passion for quality!