One of my silver linings from the last few months has been the opportunity to get to know and learn from Deb Gabor.

A CEO, branding maven and author of two best-selling books, including “Irrational Loyalty: Building a Brand that Thrives in Turbulent Times”, Deb is not just an insightful thought-leader, she’s been an amazing resource for our CEO Think Tank® community.

She spoke to our CEO’s and their teams a few weeks ago and I thought I would share just some of her insights around re-invention, brand building, being indispensable to your customers and how we can position ourselves to grow and thrive in a world that will never be the same.

(BTW her first book, “Branding is Sex” is a fabulous “how-to” book to get you kickstarted if you’re a newbie to creating a powerhouse brand.)

1. Irrational loyalty is the characteristic that enables a brand to endure the worst type of crisis. It transcends the benefits of the brand and is the feeling that you are so indelibly bonded to a brand that you would be cheating on it if you were to choose an alternative.

2. We are in a brand-new world. If anyone tells you that we will go back to the way things were, don’t believe them.  If you are not re-imagining your business now, for the post-pandemic world, you will be left behind.  Your brand is going to change and you need to change. (Check out her take on Jim Collins’ Stockdale Paradox exercise here to get started.)

3. A brand an intangible asset. A great brand includes expectations, memories, and emotions all rolled up into a human relationship. Two questions she asked our CEO’s and their teams to consider:

      • How are you making someone a hero in their own story?
      • How can you build an emotional bank account with your clients that will stand through something that shakes the very foundation of your relationship?

(To help you identify the intangibles of your offering she recommends a Brand Values Pyramid Exercise – you can access more on that here.)

4. Ultimately a brand is about “meaningful differentiation”. It is not enough to just be different or say that you are different, Deb explains. It needs to be a promise to your customers that you deliver on every time, differentiation that creates “top of mind” awareness. Think Salesforce for sales platforms.

5. Now is the time to give generously. Show regard for humanity. Help – don’t sell. Focus on your community and engaging your current customers, first.  Reach out to them in a spirit of supporting them and ask the following questions:

      • How are you doing?
      • What’s going on with you and your team/ company?
      • How can we support you or be of assistance to you?”

Ultimately you are trying to answer the question of “How can we be indispensable to people at this time of uncertainty?” (HINT: the Stockdale Paradox exercise can help you here too.)

6. Get your team together and re-visit who your Core Customer profile now. HINT: this is not a “flip chart” exercise and will require that you dedicate some time and energy to the conversation.  Deb encouraged everyone, however, to start that conversation and ask, “What does your ideal customer profile look like today, and going forward?”

Love these takeaways? There’s more actionable content on the webinar recording, including Deb’s fabulous advice for how to communicate your brand more effectively and with greater impact as well.

Reach out to me to get a copy, grab your team and start creating “Irrational Loyalty” for your brand!

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