Individual Brand vs. Company Brand
A successful organisation is a brand. It is a brand that has been created and sustained by thinkers, philosophers and generals. Think Jack Welch, Henry Ford, Ingvar Kamprad – individual brands that have built organisations based in part, on their achievements.
Some of these people are no more, they exist in our memory, but the brands they helped create have gone from strength to strength.
It is in this context that I want to discuss Mark Hurd’s exit from HP.
Aman Singh at Forbes wonders if this is a win for Brand Management or CSR. Why should these two paths be divergent? CSR is an integral part of brand building, it provides credibility to the brand, it allows consumers to trust the brand and the message it brings to them.
Without CSR, brands are built on shaky foundations. They have to depend on shallow promotions, doubtful claims and impulse generation. With CSR, brands are committed to long term relationship building on values of trust and integrity. But at every stage, the brand is tested. There are many opportunities for shallowdom to take over. Consistency in principles and commitment to see the journey through marks the elite brands.
HP is facing such a crisis today. At what cost should they display their commitment? Is this not the same man who worked hard to “restore its corporate governance standards and lead industry benchmarks on transparency and ethical practices after Carly Fiorina’s departure?”
Times like these bring a showdown between the individual brand and the company brand. But the choice is clear. You see, an individual brand exists with the individual, an entity with a temporal life and a temporary period of giving. A company brand lives forever, it is a kingdom that encapsulates citizenry, culture, purpose and governance. It is overseen by a Senate of stakeholders, not individuals.
And as expected, the choice between State and Caesar ends quite predictably