Blog: Powerful Brands Align Themselves with their Values as Socially Responsible Businesses

By: Jeff Baker, Presdient and Creative Director at Image 4

bf_image4.jpg (Photo Credit: Christine Carignan, Business NH Magazine)

At Image 4, we work with our clients not only to present their Brand, but also to help them discover, align and refine their Brand. The reason is that an Authentic Brand is a powerful Brand.

Recently, a perfect example presented itself when Bank of America took the decision to cease funding private prison companies.

B of A senior management toured the detention centers at the US/Mexico border. The management team decided that the conditions in those centers did not reflect the values that B of A lives by. By extension, B of A management realized that their support of the for-profit penal industry was going to reflect badly on their Brand.

In today’s on-line, all-the-time world, we all can discover who you and your Brand truly are in a matter of moments. Yelp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – all are capable of revealing how your staff and company really operate. Brand management is no longer a press release, it’s a day-to-day, all-encompassing mission that must begin with your company’s core values, flow through staffing and training and operations, and make its way authentically to the end-user consumer.

Let’s contrast Bank of America with Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo had a culture that allowed and even encouraged managers and front line employees to manipulate, take advantage of, and even falsify customer interaction with the bank, all in the pursuit of dollars. Very clearly, senior management failed to set and manage to a set of values that aligned with their customer interests.

The result was predictable – Wells’ behavior was discovered, the Brand – built so carefully over 100 years – is deeply tarnished, management has been replaced, staff has been fired, fines have been levied, and tens of thousands of customers have fled to another banking relationship. Wells Fargo will survive and may grow and return to their once-prominent Brand position, but at a terrible cost.

When we take on a Brand project at Image 4, whether it’s a completely new Brand or a Brand Refresh, the very first thing we seek to learn is the true, root Values of the organization. And if those Values and the desired Brand presentation are out of alignment, we work with our clients to think through that, to align the real Brand with the desired Brand position and, above all, to align with the company’s constituents – customers, shareholders/members, the community, etc.

We do this because there is nothing more powerful today than an aligned, authentic Brand. When your management, staff, community and clients are in alignment, you have a powerful business machine. Over and over we’ve seen well-aligned Brands outperform in revenue generation and operational efficiency. From Patagonia, Timberland and Ben & Jerry’s to Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, and Starbucks, Brands that have foundational values and execute in an aligned fashion deliver a customer and employee experience that not only creates customers, but creates Brand Advocates. What more can a business ask for? Because today, your success is About the Experience.

To learn more about Image 4 and connect with Jeff reach out to him through email at