In mid-August I purchased a small electronic gadget through Amazon.com. At the time, I did not give much thought to what a fantastic buying experience it was. I found the product immediately using the search function, used one-click to check out and (as a Prime member) received my order two days later at no incremental cost to me. The customer experience at Amazon is completely amazing and satisfying on every occasion. Yes, it does get better.
It took me about two weeks to lose the device. When I went back to reorder the price had been adjusted to suggested retail which was 25% more than my original purchase. Yikes. I sent an email explaining my situation and inquiring as to the price. The response was “While it’s against our policy to do so, we will honor the original price.” Boom. Exceeding expectations is hard to do when I’ve enjoyed a top notch customer experience with every transaction…but Amazon did.
Amazon is a fearless brand for several reasons including their vision, their clarity of purpose, their commitment to quality, their seamless processes and their overall commitment to delivering superb customer service. I can tell you what drives all of this in two words….Jeff Bezos.
Behind every company that is a fearless brand is a person(s) that is a fearless brand.
Companies are created by people. Dynamic companies are created by dynamic people. Amazon – and Jeff Bezos – is a prime example of this truth. Amazon was started as a book seller in 1994 based on a business plan Bezos wrote while driving from New York to Seattle. It has grown into the largest retailer on the internet and now offers everything from A to Z. As a side note, I love the ‘smiling’ arrow in the Amazon logo which makes this point.
I have written in the past about other companies which are fearless brands. At the heart of each of them is a dynamic individual infusing the characteristics of their personal fearless brand into their company culture.
Herb Kelleher is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Southwest Airlines. Southwest consistently outperforms most of their competition in financial, customer satisfaction and reliability measures. I met Herb and Colleen Barrett at the 2012 Go-Giver Retreat. Colleen is the President Emeritus of Southwest and was being awarded the Go-Giver Lifetime Achievement Award. That experience led me to write Personal Brands Do Amazing Companies Make. These two powerful personalities have helped to create one of the most successful airlines in U.S. history.
Zappos is yet another example of a company which was created by a fearless personal brand. In this case that individual is often referred to as the ‘silent founder’. Nick Swinmum began the journey of building Zappos after being unable to find a pair of boots he wanted at his local mall. Zappos is built on a platform of ten core values which define the company’s vision and purpose. You can see those values in my blog titled Dancing Toast. (It should be noted that Amazon purchased Zappos in 2009 for $1.2 billion.)
The common thread across all of these companies is the fearless personal brand at their very soul. It is people that make companies great – people who embrace their dreams, achieve clarity of purpose and the realize the resulting conviction. Be sure to be one of those people if you want your company to be more successful.