“I see the world of leadership differently than most people. I don’t see leadership as a title or a role in an organization. Instead, it is about how people function in their lives, about the difference they can make. I don’t divide the world up into leaders and followers. We need to know how to be both. Leadership isn’t a position of authority, but of personal responsibility. It is best practiced in a social setting where people share the responsibility for leadership. I believe we live in a leadership-starved world, and the future belongs to leader-rich organizations and societies.”
Recently I toured The World of Coca Cola in Atlanta. Since I rarely drink soft drinks, my interest was in their brand philosophy and marketing approach.
The Coca Cola Company is the master of product marketing. The tour celebrates the secret formula for Coke and the experience of sharing it with friends. There is a film at the beginning of the tour that associates warm, sentimental feelings with drinking and sharing a Coke. It is very effective.
Coke is selling a brand experience. The drink is associated with the experience. They want you to believe a serving of Coke is a vehicle for creating a happier, more peaceful world. Other beverage companies, like those who sell beer, market their products in a similar manner. It is about the experience of the drink, not the drink itself. It is a very clever, sophisticated approach that has made happiness synonymous with having a Coke with a friend.
As I walked through The World of Coke, I kept thinking about my brand in comparison to Coke’s. Like many people who speak, write, coach and consult, we also provide a brand experience. We have stories. We have brand colors that are intended to associate our brand with the experience of working with us. As I wandered through the exhibits, I wondered if I needed to change things. Later, I reviewed my brand design using the Circle of Impact model. Here’s what I learned.
Leadership has become a standardized approach to the operation of an organization. As I listen to people describe the function of leadership in their organization, it is often difficult to identify the values that inform what leadership means. It is much easier to identify the cultural practices that cause leadership to be ineffective.
It is clear to me that children are already in tune with the idea that they can make a difference in people’s lives. This raises the question for parents of how to talk with their children about being persons of impact.