The Business of BusinessMay 25, 2021
“Logic is not the same as emotion!”
There are some companies that became iconic and Sony Corporation is one of those organizations. At the close of World War II the citizens of Japan were a humiliated, devastated, and defeated people. Overnight they were forced to change their entire system of governance as a nation from a monarchy lead by an Emperor to a democracy. Overnight they had to accept Allied Forces that would now occupy their nation for years to come and that they would not be able to turn back the clock to their historic roots. I can’t imagine the sense of loss they felt as a nation, it would have been humbling and soul searching. Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka, founders of Sony decided right then and there that they would not bow their heads in shame but that they would build anew and help their country move forward to build pride in everything Japanese. To think that they would create this incredibly bold Vision Statement I’m going to share with you given what they and their countrymen had just experienced was a lesson in courage, determination, an unwavering belief in their cause, and resilience.
“A good Vision tells everyone unequivocally WHERE the company is going and WHEN-fifty years, not HOW, WHAT-tactics-or WHY-Core Essence-the organization is going there.”
Sony Corporation Vision
We will create products that become pervasive around the world…We will be the first Japanese company to go into the United States of America market and distribute directly…We will succeed with innovations that companies in the United States of America have failed at; such as, the transistor radio…Fifty years from now our company brand name will be as well known as any in the world…and will signify innovation and quality that rival the most innovative companies anywhere…”Made in Japan” will mean something fine, not something shoddy.
“The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle.” Peter Drucker
Start with WHY! Why did you start this business in the first place? “There has to be a better way!” Whom does it serve? And what are the outcomes for whom you serve? That’s your Mission Statement or Core Purpose-one simple single sentence and not a paragraph. People are automatically drawn to WHY, not HOW and WHAT. People make emotional connections with your products and services, not the WHAT and HOW you made them or delivered them. If you fall into the trap most companies make where decisions are made based primarily on the Profit Return business driver you’re at risk of becoming a commodity. If price is the only game in town, then there is no such thing as Customer Loyalty. And believe or not that includes your internal Customer Loyalty. People only remember how they FEEL about their purchase or how they FEEL in their jobs and roles at work. If you insist on facts and reason that have been shoved down the throat of both your internal and external customers, chances are that they won’t FEEL anything. So always cycle back to WHY you’re here in the first place when you make decisions, create services and products, build human capital systems, create policies and organizational structures because it’ll keep you focused on your Core Essence. Unfortunately I have witnessed and experienced in every organization I have ever been involved with -public, not-for-profit, or private-scant attention to this business maxim and subsequently they have all lost their way over time. It’s leadership’s primary job within their role to articulate and embody the WHY. True leadership is rallying the the troops to action lead by your WHY. True leadership is never wavering from your WHY and holding every individual in your organization accountable to live and breathe your WHY.
“Emotion is where the brand’s true value lies.” John Hagarty
Sony created a world renown brand because it did a number of things right and it has continued to do many things right up to the current day. What is a brand? A brand is simply like a person, it’s what you stand for and against. If you can’t define what you stand for in a single sentence than you really don’t know the answer to this question. And just as important if you don’t know what you stand against, then you and your employees will be lost in the wilderness. Only the best organizations can roll these two things out effortlessly at a moments notice-it’s their True North. What makes us unique makes us unforgettable. The brain isn’t interested in sameness. People have to FEEL invested in your brand to have the brand defined as you would define it. Emotion is always the key differentiator for any business. Remember, human beings make decisions 20% of the time with our heads and 80% with our hearts. If you can identify and unlock the key emotion(s)-Customer Emotional Value Added or CEVA as it’s known in our discipline of Organization Development hidden in your Key Business Driver and two Secondary Business Drivers then you have a winning strategic formula to success. I hate to say it and I will, most organizations in my experience confuse Strategic versus Tactical. Most leaders confuse Feeling the message they delivered to their customers with intellectually understanding the message they just delivered. Build a better, stronger more loyal brand by touching on people’s emotions. It’s ultimately the only thing that will differentiate your organization from your competition.