Brand and Expectation

I recently had the privilege of blogging with Jim Estill at World Innovation Forum (#WIF11).  As we chatted at the end of day one about the impact of brand on customer expectations, I asked Jim if he’d share some of those insights in a post. He graciously agreed to do so.

From Guest Blogger Jim Estill:    One of the speakers at WIF11 was Tony Hsieh – founder of Zappos and author of the book Delivering Happiness – A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.   His story is compelling.  Anyone who sells a business for over $1B is worth listening to.

He spoke primarily on corporate culture and how it becomes the brand.  And how important the brand is to success.  At Zappos, they over-interview.  During training they offer people $4,000 to quit.  They want the right people.  It’s all about culture.

While listening to the speaker, I was Tweeting and noticed the trending topics.   One of them was Anthony Weiner, the congressman involved in the latest scandal.  There seems to be a lot of scandals – Arnold Schwartzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn to name two.

It occurred to me that brand sets expectation.

Why do some scandals blow over quickly and others are much more difficult?  It is about brand. For example, Elliot Spitzer had a reputation of all American hometown values fighting all the dirty capitalists ruthlessly.  So when he gets caught, it takes years (if ever) to blow over.  Where Arnold Schwartzenegger’s issue seems to blow over quickly – people were not surprised.

I like Air Canada but have fairly low expectations of airlines in general.  So when I suffer lines, delays and mediocre service, I am not upset.  I expect it.  When I eat food from a chain restaurant, I am not upset when the food is average.  I expect it.  When Bank of America messes up and responds slowly and has a poor customer service response, I do not complain.  I expect it.

But when I buy from Nordstroms, Tiffany’s, my personal tailor etc.  I have high expectation of excellence and low tolerance of anything but the best.

So perhaps I need to cultivate my reputation, my personal brand, as a lazy, drunk womanizer – so any reputation hit will blow over quickly.

About Jim Estill:  Time Management Guru, venture capitalist and blogger at Jim started a technology distribution business from the trunk of his car and grew it to $350,000,000 in sales prior to selling it to SYNNEX.  He then was CEO of SYNNEX Canada driving sales from $800,000,000 to $2 Billion.  Today he invests in, advises, and mentors early stage technology businesses.  He was a founding director of RIM (Blackberry).

About Brain Logic, LLC

Brain Logic helps companies understand how their customers think in order to design their technology, products and processes to deliver optimal customer experiences and boost the ROI of their investments. For more information visit or email
This entry was posted in 2011, Brand Expecations, Collaboration, Customer Trust, Delightful, Expectations, Hypersocial, Innovation, Jim Estill, Leadership, Trust, World Innovation Forum and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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