Three Small Resolutions for Big Brand Protection

2013 showed us that brand crises can and do arise – from Target’s recent security breach to Lance Armstrong’s devastating blow to LIVESTRONG. But, because both of these organizations have built strong brand equity, I believe they will survive. In fact, early evidence already shows the strength of Target’s brand, as the company’s stock price has remained stable during and after the crisis. Fortunately, not all crises become high profile, and many can be prevented with a bit of preparation and discipline.

Permanent damage to your brand is worth making a resolution or two to prevent, don’t you think?

What I’ve learned is that small, consistent steps make for big differences. These “micro” resolutions are also much easier to maintain than grandiose (and sometimes vague) resolutions. In fact, soon these small steps become your own habits, and you forget they were actually part of a resolution.

As you think about goals for your organization in 2014, here are three New Year’s micro-resolutions to get you started.

#1 – Schedule regular one-on-ones with direct reports to strengthen your brand.

  • Why it’s Important: Like leadership guru and bestselling author Patrick Lencioni, I believe effective meetings have the greatest immediate impact on any organization. Regular one-on-ones with direct reports are not “check list” meetings but rather an opportunity to connect with your team, talk with them about their vision and what is important to the organization and to them. It’s important because focused, happy employees are not only more productive, they are also better brand ambassadors.
  • How to Make it Happen: If you aren’t currently holding one-on-ones with direct reports, start with bi-monthly meetings, then move to monthly, depending on how many reports you have. Once you have had success with monthly one-on-one meetings, consider implementing a meeting calendar based on Lencioni’s formula for four distinct meetings that are vital to the health of any organization.

          Administrative – Daily Check-in: 5-10 minutes
          Tactical – Weekly Staff Meetings: 40-45 minutes
          Strategic – Ad-hoc Topical Meetings: 2-4 hours
          Developmental – Quarterly Off-site Review: 1-2 days

#2 – Clearly communicate your vision to build trust and brand equity among constituents.

  • Why it’s Important: A clear organizational vision should connect with employees, stockholders and the community, and CEOs and senior leaders need to be able to clearly communicate that vision. It takes time to develop your style and voice, but as Master Communicators, CEOs can protect a brand.
  • How to Make it Happen: Write your vision down in three sentences. Now … practice saying it in the shower for five days until it flows naturally.

#3 – Create a 3-hour crisis plan now to prevent a brand breakdown later.

  • Why it’s Important: When digital thieves start attacking your organization’s reputation, you have three hours to formulate a response. After that, the crisis escalates and the thieves will have won. By creating a plan, you won’t find yourself speechless or stymied when faced with an imminent threat to your brand.
  • How to Make it Happen: Develop a plan, and then write down all of the people – including the attorney – who must approve any crisis response when it happens.

Hopefully you’ll take on at least one of these micro-resolutions that can make a big impact in protecting your organization’s brand. I’d love to hear how it goes. Keep me updated by emailing me at

And, Happy New Year!

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Brands are both valuable and vulnerable, so smart leaders work hard to protect them. This blog is a go-to resource for ideas, approaches and the latest news on safeguarding and increasing the value of your company’s most important asset. Subscribe below to get regular updates on what we’re posting.
Becky Powell-Schwartz, Founder & CEO