Retail Observer

September 2020

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 45 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM SEPTEMBER 2020 46 A local restaurant I regularly patronize is halting its in-house dining. They're doing it because customers have yelled at their service staff for insisting they wear masks when ordering at the counter. The owner noted in a video on social media that the poor behavior of a few customers puts too much risk on the staff and the other customers. The owner is dancing on a fine line between caring for the staff, serving the patrons, and running a profitable business. If you're a business owner or leader, you know this dance very well. Much of this world is out of our control. We can't control the mindset of the customers when they walk into a restaurant, call a help desk, order a product, or sign up for a subscription. We can't control the fact that things are going to happen that aren't part of the plan. It's how we react to these things that reveals the character of our brand. Sometimes we need constraints in order to get to what matters most to us. Any brand that tries to be too many things to too many people is bound for failure and disappointment. And sometimes the hardest thing is simply to be ourselves in the face of external pressures to be what others expect us to be. We over-serve our customers when we drift from our values. And we risk mis-serving our customers when we drift from our expertise. The best brands live in the intersection of their expertise and their convictions. It may sound contradictory, but in order to figure out what to be next, we need to be more of ourselves. This includes getting through these constraining times. Here are some ways to be, in order to create what's next for your brand: • Be unignorable. You don't succeed by doing good work. You succeed by doing your absolute best. You succeed by being generous. You succeed by caring. Good is not good enough. Be so great that they can't ignore you. The rarest brands are so because of their exceptional nature. • Be persistent. You will be tested. People will deny you, challenge you, expect things of you. Many times things won't go as planned. Persistence is the path through challenges. Persistence is the measure of your belief in yourself. Sometimes the only difference between a failed business and a successful one is that the latter didn't give up when times got tough. • Be courageous. Standing by your convictions, especially in the face of significant outside pressures, isn't easy. When an irate customer posts an online review because your staff refused them service, you need the courage to respond with character. Don't let fear advise you. • Be of service. In order to serve, you have to know who you intend to serve, what value people will get from your service, and in what ways they need your service now. Check to ensure that the service is aligned with your convictions, and then go serve. • Be tethered. Like likes like. The way to attract the attention of exceptional people and companies is to be exceptional, do exceptional, think exceptional, write exceptional, design exceptional, and be an exceptional leader. • Be evolutionary. Your evolution doesn't expect that you'll stop being you. Rather, it insists that you find your way into the deeper part of you – the part that knows your truth, your convictions, your power, and your greatest potential that's already in you. It's the conviction-filled expert genius in you. It just needs to be harvested. • Be yourself. A great brand is built on deeply held convictions and expertise. This creates confidence and choices. When you know what you stand for, and what you won't stand for, you know your options. When you know both your options and your convictions, it makes the inevitable hard decisions easier. Your character will be tested in times of constraint. It's during these times that you need to be crystal clear about your values and principles. "All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." — Walt Disney For the past 25 years, Steve has served as an advisor and consultant on brand strategy, organizational life, and humanized marketing strategy. He has worked with companies such as Samsung, Habitat for Humanity, New Balance, Sony, LG, Amazon, NFL and MLB franchises and is a regular speaker for TEDx, Creative Mornings, CES, HOW Conference, Social Venture Network, American Marketing Association, and AIGA conferences. Steve has published two books, Brand Love and Loyalty and Humanizing the Customer Journey, as well as a forthcoming book, The Evolved Brand: How to Impact the World Through the Power of Your Brand. He has been featured in Business Week, Brand Week, Ad Age, Conscious Company Magazine, MarketingProfs, and HOW magazine. Steve leads his own brand and business strategic consultancy, Mth Degree. Contact:, 619-234-1211 or RO Steven Morris On Brand HOW YOUR BRAND CAN "BE"

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