No one is surprised when the success of a movie is attributed to the Director. His or her vision is literally the point of difference and the defining element. The reality is of course a dedicated team pulling together to deliver that creative direction as a great product that lives up to the promise. But without a strong and focussed leader, success can be elusive.
In many ways we were not surprised to see that many of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands (Millward Brown Optimor 2010) have strong leaders. Some are well known and are the face of the company - Howard SchultZ at Starbucks, Steve Jobs at Apple and Bernard Arnault at LVMH. Others have inherited and developed the vision from the original founder, such as Sam Palmisano with 'Smarter Planet' for IBM or Chanda Khochar breaking down barriers in bringing banking to the masses in India at ICICI. The common factor is continued investment in the brand to enrich it with a clearly expressed unique vision. That belief from the top is then translated throughout the company, its employees, suppliers, investors and ultimately gives the end customer a reason to return.
So don't be surprised when you bump into CEO Sir Terry Leahy in your local Tesco. He has said that "The best place to find the truth is to listen to your customer. They'll tell you what's good about your business and what's wrong. And if you keep listening, they'll give you a strategy." And it is this brand vision that he uses to galvanise his staff.
Great Movie Director Orson Welles once said: "A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet". A brand with a visionary directing it is far more likely to be successful.
For more on this, read the news story on Warc here.