15 Sep Leadership Changes: Keeping Your Brand Strong
The impact of Steve Jobs’ death on the Apple brand is still a closely watched topic, as is Steve Ballmer’s recent departure from Microsoft. Early succession planning has helped bridge those vacancy gaps, but maintaining brand loyalty and relevance through transitions of any kind requires a plan of its own.
A successful brand succession plan will:
• Help further grow your brand and keep it relevant over the years
• Sustain strong relationships with current clients
• Preserve a unique and clear brand image, consistent and meaningful to your clients
• Maintain a solid brand foundation that can withstand any stress test
• Present an opportunity to reposition or refocus in needed areas
Developing and establishing a unique brand identity for your business is only part of the job. Making sure it continues to grow in strength and value among current and potential customers through the ups and downs of your business is just as critical.
Microsoft rebounded after Ballmer by becoming more engaged in mobile technology and by effectively jumping into the online gaming industry. In the case of Apple, the brand stayed strong with the creation of the next generation of must-have, innovative gadgetry.
A good succession plan also protects the brand in case of crisis during and after the transition. The recent celebrity photo hack via Apple’s iCloud service endangered the Apple brand for the first time since Steve Jobs left. CEO Tim Cook chose to address the crisis publicly in a Wall Street Journal interview. Same brand, same objective to protect it, but with a response to crisis that fits the new style of leadership.
Customers and competitors continually watch these companies’ every move after such dramatic changes in management, and both companies made it to the other side of potential crises – with brands intact.
Your brand succession plan basically boils down to being prepared: a well thought-out action plan that helps you cross troubled waters with minimal damage to your brand.