Toughest Question in Marketing.


Jeff Finkle, the CFO of a company I once worked for, understands the power of a brand strategy.  Jeff is an interesting character. His background is in venture capital, direct-to-consumer marketing start-ups, and C-level business and financial management.  Plus, with a last name like Finkle…

Anyway, I quote him all the time in meetings when talking about the power of a brand strategy and the need for it to be acculturated throughout the company.  In Jeff’s mind, company employees when leaving the building each night should ask themselves “What did I do today to make my company/product more ________ (insert brand strategy.)”


A lot has been written about Zappos and its tight brand strategy.  Pop Quiz: Which of the following four questions do you think Zappos employees ask themselves while heading to their cars?

1. Did I sell more shoes today?

2.  Did I help the company sell more shoes today?

3.  Did I increase customer satisfaction among Zappos customers today?

4.  Did I help customers feel better about their feet, footwear and sense of style?

I need to get closer to the Zappos brand, but I’m betting they’d say number 3.  And they’ve built a successful business with that approach. Personally, I would stretch it to number 4 because “customer sat” is generic. But at least they are asking the question.

Anyone can tap a company slogan as they are heading out of the locker room, but more likely than not that’s just for good luck.   It’s up to management and the CMO to make sure employees stop tapping and start asking the tough question. Peace!