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Quality Specialty Pharmacy l Interactive Promotion :: Quality Specialty Pharmacy’s had an initiative and made it simple, yet impactful, from the start – it was to equip their reps with “in-your-face” leave-behinds.  These quirky pens were meant for reps to hand out to office staff so they could refer the pharmacy each time a patient sought to fill a prescription.  This fun, interactive pen was a great way to pierce through the monotony of the day and surely reminded the staff of how grateful they were to earn their business. Spinner Law Firm  l  Catalog Design :: As a Personal Injury attorney in Tampa, Spinner Law Firm decided to gain traction through a community “grassroots” advertising campaign. Hundreds of catalogs were inserted into refillable countertop display stands placed on local business countertops reinforcing the ongoing brand awareness perfectly complementing his existing marketing plans. U.S. Fashions  l  Logo Design :: U.S. Fashions reached out to Brandz to discuss how a brand could be created so that it would be interpreted similarly throughout a diverse, worldly audience.  As an international apparel broker, it was important for them to emulate an image which exudes trendiness, style with an a-la-mode of elegance.  The outlined, posh silhouette of a woman draped in chic garment poses in front of high-rise structures proved to transcend their vision of a multi-cultural image they’ve been seeking.


Your Culture Is Your Brand

Retention through customer service proves to ingrain brand loyalty to your client base, employees and future shareholders.

Your Culture Is Your Brand

Tony Hsieh, CEO of, Inc., the billion-dollar online footwear retailer, says he has been an entrepreneur for most of his life. In 1996 he co-founded LinkExchange, which was sold to Microsoft in 1998 for $265 million. In 1999 he became an advisor and investor for Zappos and then rose to CEO. Last year the company was acquired by Amazon in an amazing deal valued at more than $1.2 billion. What makes Zappos so successful? The boots and shoes it sells are great, but it’s the Zappos employees to whom Hsieh gives credit for the company’s meteoric rise. And his No. 1 priority is honing the company’s culture.

In the wake of the release of Hsieh’s new book, Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion, And Purpose, PPB talked with him about the essential connection between company culture, customer service and branding, and how to make it happen for you. 

In what ways does a company’s culture affect its customer service and why? 

It’s pretty hard to give great customer service if employees are unhappy. Employees need to genuinely care about both the customer and the company, which ultimately all comes down to having the right service-oriented culture. 

The culture at Zappos is quickly becoming legendary. What parts of the culture were planned and what parts just evolved? 

There were parts that we planned not to do, such as not hiring egotistical people. But for the most part, the culture has developed organically and continues to evolve. The core values came from sending an e-mail out to all our employees asking them what they should be. The key is to try to create an environment where employees feel comfortable being themselves. We’ve found that when that happens, that’s when the creativity shines and the ideas come out for taking our culture to the next level. 

What was the most important step in creating your company culture?

The most important step was committing to culture and making it the No. 1 priority for the company. Once employees realize it’s actually a priority, a lot of amazing things start to happen. 

What advice would you have for a long-established company wanting to change its culture?

Come up with committable core values that you are actually willing to hire and fire people based on, independent of job performance. Once you come up with the list, chances are there will be some people in important positions that don’t live up to those core values. You have to be willing to part ways with those people. 

You say the philosophy at Zappos is that you are willing to make short-term sacrifices if the long-term benefits are worth it. Can you give me an example of when this was the right decision? What’s an example of when it was the wrong decision? 

In the example above, letting go of a top performer who is bad for the culture is an example of a short-term sacrifice for a long-term benefit. It can be the wrong decision if doing so puts the company out of business. 

What mistake taught you the most and why? 

Our biggest mistakes with Zappos have all been around hiring. We’ve gotten better at it, but we tend to hire too quickly and fire too slowly, when it should be the other way around. If you add up the cost of all the bad decisions made by bad hires, plus the cost of their bad hires and subsequent bad decisions, I would estimate it’s cost the company more than $100 million. 

What makes you the happiest? 

Feeling connected with friends, coming up with creative new ideas and being part of building something.

Categories: Branding 101

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