I talk a lot about brand names. Because a great brand name makes everything easier.
We have great brand names in Memphis. FedEx, although the company originally didn’t want people saying FedEx, is a great brand. Federal gave the brand credibility in its earliest days. Auto Zone, though not the original name, is a strong brand. Better, I think, than the original, Auto Shack. LifeBlood’s a classic.
A great brand name you’ve probably never given a thought about is WKNO. Think about it. Public broadcasting in America has been a fact since the early Twentieth Century.
There’s one thing that everybody in every company can do to help make the company successful: be a mystery shopper. Test how easy it is to do business with your company.
A couple weeks ago I tried to make a reservation for a golf package on Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. I went to the web site and called the direct number for the hotel on a Saturday evening. I was told to call back between nine and five on Sunday. I tried another number on the web site and got an answering machine with an announcement that I needed an extension number to reach anybody.
Lou Gerstner resurrected IBM with no previous knowledge of IBM’s business. He proved that a lack of company, even category, experience can be overcome. Gerstner was the exception.
A CEO with the full body of knowledge about a company and its category has a huge leg up. CEOs who grow up in a company know the pressure points at every level. They know where each job fits in the total scheme. They know the industry. And that means they know the competition.
Memphis, TN – The life of an airline chief marketing officer must be absolute hell. For all but Southwest, airline brand stature in America is in the toilet. They hemorrhaged money. Cut flights. Cut people. Cut cities. Cut advertising. Raised fares. Added extra fees for everything but the co-pilot. The traditional airline business model doesn't work anymore.