Strong brands without all the cost, time and hoo-har!

Late last year I attended the funeral of John Ashcroft, pictured as I remember him, originally he was my driver but later he became a good friend. Please don't stop reading I'm not going to get all sentimental on you but he did leave a strong legacy we can all share.

As I was sitting in a packed out chapel listening to the excellent eulogy by one of his old clients something became obvious to me: John had an incredibly strong brand without all the usual cost, time and hoo-har involved in building one.

He was a freelance professional driver; a one-man band who did everything from arrange his work, drive his clients around and attend to his finances all the way up to looking interested as we droned on about our own little lives. So how could somebody who did all those things still have time to build a strong, really really strong, brand?

Well truth be told John didn't care for brands ("and all that jazz") but what he did care for was: -

  • Making sure his clients were always delighted with what he did for them
  • Living his favourite quote "the answer's 'yes' now what's the question".
  • Never letting them down - EVER!
  • Always being able to react to the last minute changes his clients subjected him to.
  • Always making his clients feel special.
  • Always being cheerful, happy to listen and open to anything new (he was a regular Facebooker).
  • Never being late and so never needing an excuse.

You see John had no need of a fancy logo or a mission statement or an elevator speech or a strap-line. He just consistently did what it said on the tin: delighted his clients and as he did so his brand took care of itself.

So next time anybody mentions branding to you think of John and think of what he stood for and you'll know exactly what to do next.

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Tags: Brand, Differentiation, Excellence

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