SAN RAFAEL — Living the attributes of a brand from day to day is the best way to model the core values of a firm, maintain transparency and strike a responsive chord through messages and actions that ring true among employees and customers alike, according to four Marin County business leaders at an annual conference Thursday.
They were part of a panel on “brand promise” at the Impact Marin Conference, sponsored by the North Bay Business Journal at the Embassy Suites in San Rafael attended by more than 150 business leaders.
‘NOT A FACELESS BANK’
CEO Russ Colombo said Bank of Marin reinforces its brand promise by building strong relationships with its customers, as well as through employee and line support, commitment to community and discipline in sticking to what it does well:
“We are not a faceless bank, looking for short-term gains. We continually strive to get to know our customer’s businesses in depth so we can help them can grow. Some feel pressure to show high quarterly returns, but this can increase risks. We’re in this business for long-term future success. This approach has always kept Bank of Marin on the fairway, not in the rough. It’s all about building trust.
“Consistency pays off. During the recession BOM’s annual revenues did not take a big hit, declining modestly from $12.6 million to $12.5 million. Our community commitment to giving back pays dividends in multiple ways. As we grow, we continue to create opportunities for people, that reinforces the cycle of giving, while also supporting our brand. You have to remain true to your values and not compromise.”
‘DON’T SELL VAPORWARE’
For Jamie Pardi, CEO of FanCompass, a firm that helps firms acquire fan data and monetize every aspect of the fan experience to build a sustainable business for companies, said a major issue for some firms that make big announcements and claims, is the inability to deliver on their brand promise.
“I started our company with a commitment to deliver the highest quality software. We focus on building revenue for our customers. A recent survey of our customer relationships over the past six months showed that FanCompass retained 100 percent of its clients. We don’t sell vaporware; you have to do what you say you are going to do. In a competitive business climate, you must perform better than the other guys.
“To attract and retain good people, FanCompass pays for employee health insurance and everyone can become an equity owner.
“We also share case studies with the sports industry, with a key focus on baseball, that helps build relationships by showing results and how we achieved them — which in our case involves the ability to help sell thousands of tickets to sporting events as we support the supply chain. If you don’t sell seats, you can’t sell hot dogs!”
MILKING YOUR SUPPLIERS’ HAPPINESS
CEO Albert Straus, founder of the Straus Family Creamery, said his company doesn’t act like a commercial dairy or have adversarial relations with its milk suppliers:
“We maintain close ties with our farmers and hand deliver checks to them every two weeks. We also meet with these farmers quarterly to talk about quality and pricing matters and truly appreciate their input. Some 90 percent of the dairies in Sonoma County are organic now. We see family farms as a solution to climate change and immigration concerns. About 80 percent of our employees are immigrants and we treat them the way we would like to be treated. We offer ESL classes, citizenship classes and provide health and dental insurance.