Goldman Sachs mistakes extend to brand
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
27 April 2010
Goldman Sachs should be about its customer, not about itself
Here is a perfect example of a brand that allowed it to be defined by who it is, rather than building it as a reflection of the customer it served: Goldman Sachs.
Now, I am not just another voice jumping in on the Sachs-bashing bandwagon. What I have to say is thoughtful and dispassionate.
“As a result, no one really likes the smartest guy in the room. He is resented.”
It is no secret that for years, GS carried itself and portrayed itself as “the smartest guys in the room.” I want you to consider how different this feels than “our customers are the smartest guys in the room.”
The first is a boastful claim and the second is a respected brand. The results of this mismatch spells disaster.
You see, the smartest guy in the room is the guy who always outsmarts the other guy. He succeeds when others fail and his response to his rise in tough times is, “Oh well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
As a result, no one really likes the smartest guy in the room. He is resented. Even smart business practices like “responsibly managing risk” is seen as sly and disingenuous.
When the customer is the smartest guy in the room, everyone celebrates because they are included in a terrific club. It’s a Goldman Sachs mistake not to take advantage of that meaning. Good news for any of their competitors that target audiences can ask for help in gathering up the broken pieces. Of course, their brands are no better and odds are they will do nothing. So, when the dust settles. Everything will be back where it started and GS will still be the leader.
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