That vision thing
Posted by Giles Lury on January 4, 2011
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If, like me, you’re a bit of a hoarder, then the Christmas and New Year period may have been a time to go through those old stacks of papers and throw lots of them out. As well as getting rid of things, however, it is also the time to find those little scraps which you thought might just be useful sometime in the future, or were just too good to lose.
Luckily for me I found one of those scraps. It was a small cutting from City AM from April 5th 2006. I kept it because it was such a good example about the power of a clear and simple vision and supporting set of values.
It relates to Tesco and quoted Sir Terry Leahy who said that a brand vision expressed in just 10 words had helped turn the supermarket into a global player. Leahy said that just before he was made Chef Executive in 1997, the directors had come up an agreed “core purpose” for the business – “To create value for customers to earn their lifetime loyalty”. Additionally they agreed two supporting values “No-one tries harder for customers” and “Treat people how we like to be treated”.
Since then Tesco have launched in Europe and Asia, extended into financial services and telecoms, to mention just a few of the things that have changed. But Tesco’s vision and those values haven’t changed. As Sir Terry said at the time “the bigger you are, the more important it is that you have a clear vision and a set of values that everyone understands and lives by”.
For me, great brands are built on their vision and values, their core DNA and while this remains consistent over time they also recognise the importance of preserving that core whilst stimulating change.