And sure, there is plenty of that out there. But the beauty of our digital marketplace is that manufactured hype tends to flame out at warp speed. Milli Vanilli anyone?
What sticks over the long haul is integrity branding. Keeping your stories, actions and visuals—in all their forms—consistent with what you actually deliver. Always aspiring to your highest purpose and doing your absolute best to align your brand promise with the authentic you.
When an aspect of your being is out of sync, out of integrity, it draws a laser-focus from those who watch you. It creates doubt, uncertainty and, at its worst, leads your best audience to disengage. Case in point: Yahoo!
Struggling to re-define itself while employing a revolving door of CEOs, Yahoo! touted its roots in Silicon Valley as an early internet player. Being one of the gorillas of the Valley is part of their mystique. Long hours are expected and celebrated, along with the flexibility to decide where and when. It’s hard-wired into the culture.
So the HR memo requiring all employees to work from an office ignited a firestorm. And it didn’t just tick off some affected employees (which is bad enough in a tight market for a floundering company). It hit a nerve with their users, customers and future employees. It was an equal opportunity piss-off.
Adding fuel to the fire? CEO (and new mother) Marissa Mayer who avoids any personal impact by installing a nursery next to her office.
A better bet would have been to be brand-consistent. To build—rather than destroy—brand integrity. To put real, concentrated effort into making the office experience so exciting and collaboration-packed that employees want to come to work. Entice them with the carrot vs beating them with the stick. It’s 2013, not 1953.