The most mindful and sustainable partnerships are born from brand admiration.

Written by: Emily Wagner

Admiration relates directly to the regard of something as impressive and worthy of one’s respect. A brand is defined by a name or design that distinguishes one seller’s product from another. In scrolling through my LinkedIn feed for 60 seconds, I read the word “brand” 8 times. Brand recognition and the relationship between employment and consumer branding is without doubt a topic I have been reading about in bulk as of late. Beyond the obvious hype around why the topic has become so popular, there is an interesting relationship between brand admiration and forging successful business partnerships that has my curiosity.

What ideals are presented by businesses that elude the feeling of admiration without ever having a personal, human connection directly tied to the product offering (outside of purchases made)? Why are we drawn to things that we have had zero interaction or real experience with?

I realize of course, that depending who you are asking these questions to there will be drastically different responses. A potential employee viewing a product based brand as an employment brand will have a varying view-point on what qualities are deserving of respect than a consumer purchaser, an industry analyst or even a vendor partner. But at the end of the day, if the overall image, value and commitment of a brand speak to us in any one of those positions, it would likely speak to us in all. As a respected business or vendor partner who truly admires the brand, I would absolutely want to be a consumer, or employee.

More often than not when thinking about brands from a business standpoint, as a consumer, I am immediately drawn to those I use in my life, admire and have respect for what the service offering stands for.

What do I value?

  • Dedication to innovation and a culture of change.
  • An open mind of what future progress will look like.
  • Ethical commitment to promoting leadership diversity and environmental responsibility.
  • Brand ownership without compromising, rather seek out like-minded partners/consumers. Staying true to their own ideology.
  • And an organization who walks in the footsteps of their consumer brand positioning

In business, I must have the ability to forge partnerships with companies of all walks of life, adapting and tailoring my process to their needs. However, when I begin work with organizations where my above values line up with their mission, the passion to drive not only a successful partnership, but more broadly to be a part of enabling the financial health of their organization speaks so powerfully to me. One of the best examples I have of my personal brand admiration, which leans a little bit towards obsession with the product, is within the Patagonia brand. I am an avid consumer because I both like using their products and admire their brand value and what Patagonia stands for over their direct competitors. As an organization, they have long been a company on the rise of employee engagements relationship to productivity, promoting laser focus on work-life balance, fostering creative programs, and morale boosting flex policies. A great example of a company that has been living their values (and coincidentally my values) long-before they were big buzz words.

The statement by Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh resonates, as he discussed the fluidity in making your personal values your corporate values. By enabling these elements to live in harmony instead of conflict, and understanding why the relationship of these reputations matter, we are coordinating passion with driving organizational health and setting up all levels of partnerships for enthusiastic accomplishments.