I recently read an article that referenced an antiquated time and concept, a time when there was no e-commerce site, no shipping or fulfillment company and no third-party seller. Today, if I want to buy something you created, I can probably buy it from a store you sold to or order it online from your website or another site. The order will likely be received by someone other than you, fulfilled by someone other than you and shipped by someone other than you, and someone else entirely unassociated with your brand will deliver it to my front door.
With today’s technology, you and your product or service are often separated, giving the customer a potentially disconnected experience and giving you as the creator, the opportunity to blame flaws or errors on someone else. If the product didn’t work the way I expected, you could say “oh someone must have failed to include the full description on the site you purchased from." If the product arrived in a less than satisfactory condition, you could say “I’ll have to take that up with the fulfillment and shipping company.” Somewhere along the way to innovation, some brands have lost accountability and pride in their brand or product. The antiquated concept I was referencing earlier was a visual that comes to mind, of makers and vendors in markets and what it truly meant then to stand by your product. Even if your product was never sold on the street in a market, I’m sure there was a time, possibly in a boardroom, at a pitch session or in a coffee shop, when you as a creator stood directly next to the thing (or idea) you created and sold it to someone directly.
When you are standing next to your brand or product, vulnerable and hopeful to be accepted and desired, your level of confidence and pride in it is the highest it will ever be. And that sense of brand pride should always be present in today’s economy and environment, even if nine other people interact with the product before it reaches the end consumer.
So what does it mean to stand by your brand? There have been moments when companies talk about “standing by or behind their product” and I use to just think that meant they believe in it, and were willing to provide a warranty or a guarantee of what it offers and how it will impact your life. But now when I hear anyone say “I stand by this product”, I visualize someone claiming this as a part of themselves, standing next to it with pride, vulnerably attached, hopeful to seek not only favor, but a return visit and future loyalty.
As a creator of a very small service-providing business, this is easier for me to keep in check and adopt as a permanent practice. But what I admire most are the brands who even in today’s "connect to disconnect" environment, find ways to create personal relationships and along with their product or service, ensure that customers receive their accountability and pride too.