In the unbelievably fast paced world in which we live, where branding, content, marketing and customer acquisition are the buzzwords, and social media is the “golden chalice,” I am often frustrated in what appears to be more rhetoric than fact. Companies talk of their brands and profess fan followings with changes only in their social media marketing campaigns while delivering the same old product and meaningless customer service. Yes . . . there are companies that are revolutionizing their industries, but are they flash in the pans versus sustainable entities? Have they developed a long term strategy geared towards sustainable growth, and more importantly, created customer “evangelists” who LOVE the brand, excited and thrilled by the product offering and not just the rhetoric
Whether you are a small one or two person company, or a large multimillion dollar enterprise, remember this . . . “everybody has a boat upon the ocean, but not everyone is sailing out to sea,” as is so beautifully written by singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins. Has your boat set sail out to sea, and do you know what direction you are heading? How are you making your mark, defining your brand, delighting your customer?
I cannot think of a better showcase for a company, brand and strategy direction than what has been, is and will be happening at RH (formerly “Restoration Hardware.”). I can recall the days of going into those stores and being surprised by the hardware, mixed with the array of giftables throughout the store. I confess to being one of those customers who bought those small items, but often wondered how a company could sustain themselves on such sales. I even had a chance to interview with Restoration Hardware in the late 1990’s, and was politely tossed out when I questioned their merchandise, growth and business strategy.
Now here we are in 2016, and look at the masterful transformation of Restoration Hardware from those early stores to RH, a lifestyle enterprise I feel is beyond the word “retail.” At the direction of Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman, RH defines itself in ways that every business can learn from – branding, positioning, experience, lifestyle, results over the course of years, giving tremendous “return on investment” to not only shareholders but to the end-use customer.
Check out his most recent video at http://ir.restorationhardware.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=79100&p=irol-irhome
I am admittedly a huge fan of TED Talks, and love to be inspired by the topics and great speakers available to me. But . . . if you run a business, any business, and want to be inspired, challenged, educated and surprised, watch the videos Gary and team have produced that define who RH is. They are in the form of quarterly result discussions, but for me, they are bold explorations, brand definers, culture creations, and advanced business courses. Even when discussing mistakes and shortfalls, Gary puts context around strategy, decisions, and outcomes in a decisive manner; with results that support each of his statements experienced through courage of conviction!
If you are squeamish and don’t desire to look at big picture thinking, DON”T watch these videos! However, if you have any interest in growing your company, watch away and be prepared for some honest, yet extraordinary thinking, with words such as . . .
· Radical change
· Disruption of your strategy
· Blurred lines between physical and digital, home versus retail
· Revolution versus slow evolution
· Focus on the customer experience
· Responsive to change
· Courage of conviction
· Destruction of your reality
· And in the end . . . RESULTS!
Whether or not you love the style of RH is inconsequential . . . whether or not you are a retailer or an artists doesn’t matter . . . whether or not you deem yourself a failure or a success is not important . . . the inspiration of these bold statements is in the way Gary defines the company and brand, shares strategy and conviction of purpose and direction, and showcases how those that adapt change as their reality will be the winners. Clearly, the results of his vision are manifested in the numbers and growth of the company. Oh . . . by the way, all with no Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter pages!