Where have all the swords gone?

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swordBack in the day brands would stand on the mountain top and shout their sole purpose for existing – the one compelling reason people should make them part of their everyday lives. I remember days of yore where businesses would go to war to defend their value-propositon and rally resources around ensuring they had purpose in people’s hearts.

But alas, those days seem to have gone.

A classic case in point is Toyota. Back then Quality with synonymous with the manufacturer along with its sidekicks Reliability and Dependability. This holy-trinity took it from a Japanese domestic producer to a global juggernaut that redefined manufacturing with the constructs of JIT (just-in-time) management and Kaizen respectively. If you listen carefully you can almost hear the fading echoes of the single-mined zaibatsu screamings from the top.

Where did it go wrong? How can a brand built on the bastion of Quality, an excellent thing, have its offspring recalled due to its lack thereof?

Oh cry the beloved car.

I believe they did one thing wrong – they decided to muddy their sole-purpose-for-being with other purposes for being in the hope of capturing more owners.

Fragment your laser-like focus and you land up where Toyota is today…back on the mountain top screaming Quality on deaf ears. Problem is exactly that, the damage has been done. Toyota has broken the trust of its people, much like a partner finds out their partner has been cheating. No matter how much they work on the relationship there will always be a whispering doubt that it could happen again.

Now what I do admire about Toyota is that they had a single brand purpose to begin with. Most brands don’t – they may think they do but they don’t. And that is why I wish Toyota the best of luck because they are embarking on something that is one of the hardest things to do in business – regaining something that you once were a leader in but lost along the way.

I am infinitely interested in this outcome as it will serve as a great case supporting Kevin Roberts’ and Saatchi’s philosophy of Lovemarks, the likes of which create loyalty beyond reason.

I leave you with this – a business must find its sword and fall upon it at every opportunity because only then will people keep choosing to include it in their everyday lives. And please, keep the sword in its pure-form.

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