Pride may be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but it’s also an essential ingredient in branding. You can’t grow a compelling brand without a deep-seated sense of pride in your business.
Great brands are not simply serving a market need, they go a step further. One of Yvon Chouinard’s driving visions for Patagonia was, “You should be able to wash travel clothes in a sink or a cooking pot, then hang them out to dry in a hut and still look decent for the plane ride home.”
Yvon Chouinard wasn’t in business to simply turn out a comparable, competitive product. His pride in his company and his products drove Patagonia to challenge the status quo and develop products for a devout customer base.
Sticky brands over perform
Jimmy and Shaun Muldoon, the founders and owners of Muldoon’s Coffee, are brimming with pride. They take pride in their clients, pride in their employees, pride in their approach to business, pride in their equipment, and oodles of pride in the product they deliver.
Jimmy will tell you their approach to business is weird, because they’re constantly over performing.
Muldoons over performs in almost everything they do. They roast their own coffee beans, they use specialized equipment to recreate the taste of pour-over coffee, their packaging is 100% biodegradable, they have a zealous commitment to customer service, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s the founders’ pride that propels them to challenge the status quo. They don’t follow the path carved out by others. They have their own code that drives them to invest purposefully in their business, products, clients and employees.
A clear sense of purpose
Pride is considered to be the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins, and the source of the other sins. In a biblical context, pride is awful because it is perceived as positioning oneself in line with God.
But pride in your business is not hubris or vanity. It comes from delivering a clear sense of purpose.
Patagonia’s mission statement reads like the start of a manifesto, “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
They have a purpose much greater than being a clothing company. And it’s a purpose their people can get behind, invest in and take pride in.
Muldoon’s purpose isn’t as easy to explain, but it’s obvious when you visit their facility. Their purpose is customer service. As Jimmy likes to say, “We’re prepared to die to please the customer.”
(It must be their Scottish heritage to have such a Braveheart approach to customer service.)
There’s a right way and a wrong way
With a clear purpose that you take pride in, there’s always a right way and a wrong way.
Not all business is good business, and not all decisions are driven by the bottomline. It’s pride that gives business owners and their teams the fortitude to make hard choices—choices that align with the business’s purpose and the needs of their customers. And those hard choices are what grows companies into sticky brands.