Friday, November 22, 2013

Letter from the Editor: It's a People Thing

Dear Friends,

In this world of turbo-charged changes, there are some, albeit seemingly few, things that do remain the same, and those things usually have to do with principles and people.

I took note of this in viewing a somewhat dated video recently. (View it here.) It’s a promotional clip entitled “Vision” for a motivational speaker, Howard Putnam, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff Airlines. In between the various plugs, there are nuggets of truth delivered with humor and sobriety that pour from Putnam’s arsenal of experience, not with business strategies or financial spreadsheets, but rather with…people.

He begins and ends with the importance of people, specifically an organization’s team and its culture. According to Putnam, these form the foundation of a brand. “It’s a people thing. Hire attitude [confidence, talent, and ambition]. Find the folks that fit your culture…that’s how you begin to build a brand.” He continues by distinguishing the appeals: “If you sell a product or a service, you’ll be known as a vendor or a supplier. If you sell a vision or experience, now you’re beginning to develop a brand.”

In this world of smart-but-faceless-technology, the human touch is elusive and more important than ever. It’s the core of a brand’s existence, and the life and breath of an organization. Sometimes the anonymity of digital communication tools causes us to forget this fact. We need to keep in mind that they are merely tools, not replacements.

Putnam concludes, “The one business I know you are in and I know I am in is the people business. Your customers, your stakeholders, your suppliers, your investors, they are all people, and if we can work together as a team you have a much greater opportunity for success ahead.”

As the holiday season approaches and the new year is on the horizon, this is a great opportunity to thank you, our customers, for your continued support and trust! We appreciate you and, as always, we value your input and business. 

Here’s to the human touch and building a better brand through it,

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