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November 16, 2004


Neil McGuire

while i agree that a shift from the mechanistic to the organic is well overdue, and has been happening for some time now, I am never the less surprised when it is suggested that we can design this 'eco-system' around the brand. I would propose that we really need to go a step further and drop this idea of the brand altogether. Sure, there are people coming up with new brand metaphors all the time, but they fundamentally tie into the same brand thinking as before, and are arrived at from a 'brand' point of view rather than an entirely rational external point of view.

I like the idea of connections in business, but as soon as you identify them as 'brand-drivers', you start manipulating them as such, and are well on the way to making them become something else entirely. I understand that the 'eco-system' is an analogy rather than a direct comparison, but as such, an important point to remember is that we can seek to positively influence our natural eco-system, but can never, and will never, be able to control it.

Tim Whelan

OK, I'll bite, what is the big picture? I'm not sure that I totally agree with you, but you have my attention.

If you follow Deming and Drucker then the purpose of a business is to make money, provide a return on investment, and serve its customers. This is to be done in as effecient model as possible. I really don't see their position as a fad and I think they could see the big picture.

I feel that business fragmentation has come with the size and competitive nature of business. Especially within the internal structure and with internal customers. Competition for resources thrives within these structures causing the puzzle pieces to focus on small visions short sighted goals instead of the overall big pictures.

Focusing on the customers as means to an end would be considered in this and is usually the dominant view with mid and upper level management. However, seeing the customer as the binding glue for the whole picture brings really different results.

Instead of fragmentation within companies and increased competion for assets an opposite Phenomenon occurs developing cohesiveness, cross team domination and development. I'll listen to feedback on this. Nice blog however. I have back linked so that others in my group can read.

Jim McCoey

This is some very thought provoking material. I might add that an organizations employees will take on the attitude of their immediate supervisor or team leader. The organization will only be as strong as it's weakest leader. Without top to bottom balance and harmony, holism is not possible. With top to bottom balance and harmony, the interdependence of people in the organization will be such that everything else fall into place.

Tom Asacker

Jen, I'm with you on the "internal" vs. "external" brand hooey. Check out #6 on my Seven Wonders of Branding when you get a chance (what's that!). :)

Jennifer Rice

Andreas, thanks for commenting. What I'm proposing is that there is no distinction between "internal" and "external" branding. There is no inside versus outside in a holistic system approach. And you're right, this is a cultural and organizational shift that must be driven by the CEO. The organization must be built in a way that supports and enables employees to participate in the system, not just a silo.


Good post. But may be it is the prevelant silo mentality in companies and thus, in individuals that supporst the fads in management theory. It is difficult for individuals to see situations holistically, so it is difficult for organisations to see the big picture. We are "educated" to break things down according to the 80/20 rule. We are flooded by information and have learnt in time management to prioritise.

So yeah, there is a need to develop the linkage between internal and external branding. Happy employees create happy customers create happy shareholders and a growing economy. Easily said and still, so difficult to achieve.

Johnnie Moore

Good post Jen. I particularly like the bit about the dangers of the fix.

Also, focus is fine up to a point, but I think wisdom also involves our peripheral vision. As you say, if we think customer-focus is The Answer, we risk not paying attention to crucial information in other relationships.

Moving from the Magic Solution worldview means embracing uncertainty. That's sometimes scary!


Great article.

I may be able to help you post your "holistic" view. However, having used "The Brain" tool, it tends to only show certain things depending on how your screen is set up or whatever (it's been awhile). But if it is visible in a single view I can definitely help you.

Shoot me an email, or shine the TVT symbol on a low-hanging cloud (not hard to find today in DFW) if you are interested. This is not a sales call. :-)

PS: TQM is not a "fad", but mischaracterization makes it so.

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