I was recently speaking with a global brand leader who has enjoyed a particularly successful multi-year run. He said, “Goals are 60% more likely to be achieved if you have a role model.” That stopped me in my tracks. I asked him to expound upon that concept and have since spent hours researching the importance of role models, especially in the workplace.
“Our sense of what is possible in our careers is influenced by what has gone before and how we draw inspiration and learning from leaders past and present in our own identity development.” says Val Singh, a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management.
I wholeheartedly agree.
I’ve never used the word “role model” to describe cult brands before, but I will from now on because that is what they are. Emulating role models by identifying the most engaging brands and brand leaders within various industries perfectly captures why I co-authored “Fix, Break the Addictions That Are Killing Brands“, and why I co-founded Cult Collective to provide audience engagement advisory services. And it’s especially why I co-host The Gathering each year. More business leaders and brand stewards need better professional role models to follow.
Dr. Susan Krauss said, “As adults, we tend to give little thought to the idea of having a role model; we regard this as something for children. But stop and consider who most influences you now, and why. You’ll no doubt agree that the people you admire now are giving you your most important life lessons.”
The world’s most beloved cult brands do four things that every single business leader desire:
1) They enjoy above average levels of brand affinity. Customers don’t just like them, they love them.
2) They reap above average benefits from word of mouth. Their businesses thrive from enviable levels of advocacy and earned media.
3) They spend less than their category peers on traditional advertising. They don’t require as many costly paid media campaigns to stimulate demand.
4) They preserve margin by discounting less often and less richly because more customers are willing to pay full price (and oftentimes a premium).
The question we should ask ourselves is, “What do I need to do in order to enjoy the benefits of cult-like status?” While many consultants like me have strong opinions, there is no better role model than a fellow CEO or CMO from an undeniably iconic brand telling their story and sharing their own advice. All we have to do is listen, and then have the courage to follow their example.
I believe Baltasar Gracian when he quipped, “Nothing arouses ambition so much as the trumpet clang of another’s fame.” Learning first-hand how other people achieved their fame and fortune (personally, and for their company) inspires us to rise up and live up to our full potential. I’ve personally seen careers and companies change for the better as people left The Gathering enlightened and emboldened to try something new.
I want you to experience the same thing. I want you to see for yourself how powerful it can be to follow the beliefs and behaviours of cult brand role models. You’ll discover more motivation to overcome obstacles, you’ll be inspired to make more bold decisions, and you’ll learn from other’s mistakes so you don’t have to endure the same negative consequences they did. Most importantly, you’ll discover what it takes to become an even better version of yourself because the speakers provide practical guidelines, values and actions for us to follow.
The Gathering isn’t a conference, trade show, or summit. It’s a completely unique thing – a gathering of professional role models – and its only intention is to expose people who are talented enough, yet humble enough, to realize the minute they stop learning and challenging themselves, they are settling for something less than what’s possible.