apple-logoIf your company went away, how much heartache would it really create? We all like to think that everyone would be devastated and that our product or service is irreplaceable. The fact is, few companies understand that their brand is quite weak and even think that their brand is equivalent to their logo. Guess what, a brand is far more important than a logo.

True brands live in the hearts of their followers. Smart executives know the difference between selling a product/service and selling a way of life. To illustrate, let me give you a couple examples: Apple, Harley Davidson, Disney and Abercrombie & Fitch. Harley riders even tattoo the logo on themselves. Now that is a powerful brand.

Levi Straus once was a shining example of passion and owning a niche, no longer. They lost focus and it is hard to get the trust of the consumer back. In network marketing, Amway is the Levi Straus of brand/trust equity. Amway once had niche domination in America, but somehow they lost focus on the fact that they were really selling hope, not soap. Trust is something that is hard to get and even harder to get back once you lost it.

Good examples of trust equity (Apple and Harley Davidson) understand that they are selling freedom and lifestyle. They know the hearts of their buyers. Harley Davidson riders know that there are faster bikes that are quieter, but they don’t care. Harley represents freedom from the 9 to 5, it represents a band of brothers and sisters. And, Harley Davidson corporate knows their customers. Harley employees are bikers, they live what they sell. Apple is an example of a company that had, lost it, and then regained it. Apple is now the shining example of understanding how to be important. They are more expensive, they are prettier, and they just keep getting better. Apple users resent inferior PCs and you cannot convince them that there is anything that compares to the iPod.

So who gets this in network marketing? Who truly understands what people are really looking for? Is it a high ORAC, is it cheaper long distance, is it more vitamin C, or is it a cool logo? No, no, no and no. Network marketing is coming of age, but few companies get what their customers really want (and yes, IBOs/distributors are customers, they are the ultimate customer). There are very few companies in the world that see and hear the same thing as their customers, and even fewer MLM company executives that get it. Instead, many companies try to force what they think their customer wants or spend too much time comparing themselves to another company.

IBOs don’t care about the supply chain or how exact your bank account is balanced. IBOs want to feel alive again, they want to feel needed. They want to belong to a band of brothers that will stick up for them when they are not in the room. They want to be free, even if it is only on weekends. My guess is that your company executives don’t get this and most have never really thought about it. There are many company executives that don’t even understand their own compensation plan. Most companies that are having momentum and communication problems have their problems as a result of the corporate team thinking the field cares about corporate’s problems. The field doesn’t care if the CEO or President is having personal problems or why the product is late. The field just wants things to be right now and if its not, when it will be fixed. However, corporate teams better care about what the field wants. It is very important. Corporate executives must understand the fields’ problems and do their best to fix those problems before they even start.

Instinct is important in company culture and brand importance. However, instinct dies in endless meanings because you justify away your instincts to the bean counters in the room. You want your company to matter? Well, start understanding that people care less about your product and more about themselves. What’s in it for them? Ask your corporate team if they have ever sponsored someone into the company, and if they haven’t ask them to. Don’t ask them to help you enroll someone, ask them to enroll their own friends or family for a year. Ask yourself if you feel excited each day to be a part of something special. If you don’t, fix it quick or someone smarter about human nature will take your group.