Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's the story which made Frank Perdue, Body Shop and Barack Obama so successful

For so many, it is not the rational benefits, but the emotional story which makes for success. The story of John McCain is a critical part of his appeal, Stories about businesses, brands and products make them different and appealing. The Hewlett-Packard garden shed is part of the mythology of H-P, just as the personality of Howard Hughes contributed to much of his early success. Whether it is Starbucks or FedEx, there is an imagery and perception which drives success. When the story is lost, even if awareness remains, the business faces problems.

Now these stories can be intensely personal as much as general. The Ford Mustang holds different memories for different people, but they are usually strong. An effective management will nurture and farm them, much as Harley Davidson has. That is part of the magic of the James Dyson brand, whereas "hired gun" CEOs rarely work, unless your name is Lee Iacocca!

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