Since the day we started XanGo eight years ago, one of the most common observations I’ve heard from distributors is how XanGo’s brand stands out in our industry. They note the investment we’ve made in building XanGo’s brand in the global direct sales marketplace and how we’ve maintained a steadfast commitment to XanGo as a brand.
Some often ask: Why a brand? Was that the intent from the founding days? Why has it worked so well for XanGo?
Brands are relatively rare in the direct sales industry. Yes, every company and product has a name and a logo, yet a brand is so much more than that. A brand is an identity. It’s an emotional connection with every stakeholder, from distributors, to employees to industry analysts and even competitors. A recent article I’ve read tackled the definition of what is a brand and I like how this author (and a few CMOs) worded it: a brand is what’s going on when the company and the distributors aren’t looking.
What are other distributors in the field saying? How do potential recruits respond when they hear the company name? What are your neighbors and friends saying after you’ve told them about the company, the products and the compensation plan? How is the company perceived online and in the news media? Does the company stand for something beyond sales?
For me and my partners, those questions were a major consideration in the founding days of XanGo. What could we give our distributors that would transcend the ongoing industry conversation and show what we stood for right out of the starting gates? How could we bring a powerful sense of identity that would transform the industry?
Brand became that essential proposition. Look, our industry is all about leaders. And we feel that XanGo is home to many of the greatest leaders in the business. As we started the company, we made a commitment to give our leaders a brand that would attract other leaders to the business, a magnet force that would change the direct sales business as we then knew it.
I often talk about my love of great brands. In my office, I have a Brand Wall of Fame and here on my blog I have a series of posts on how brands and their creators changed the game. Coca-Cola, Disney, Harley-Davidson; brands that are category leaders. I look to lists like Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands for inspiration and study how brands gain global respect, recognition and believers by living the values they’ve pledged to espouse.
I grew up loving the work of Walt Disney and, as I learned more about the man, his ideas and the company, I became inspired by how his innovations changed the entertainment industry and transcended the business to influence our lives and even our national and global pop culture. Early in my career, I learned how important a brand can be in attracting customers, building loyalty, and keeping them coming back. Working at Nordstrom, I learned to live a creed of high customer service, which is synonymous with that brand.
For us, making XanGo a powerful brand became a commitment for the life of the company. We wanted people to recognize XanGo as a category-creator, a place of “firsts.” XanGo’s brand was to represent a home to creativity, innovation and visionary leadership. We pledged to build XanGo’s brand on a premium standard of product quality and 50/50 partnership with our distributors. We wanted to create a company brand where our distributors would say, “I have a XanGo business,” and their friends, neighbors and potential recuits would say, “Wow, I’ve heard of them. That’s a great company.”
As we enter our ninth year of business, XanGo’s brand is global, recognized and growing. We’re the brand known as the mangosteen category-creator, the first brand to be on the front of a professional sports jersey in North America and the first in direct sales history to introduce a brand-centric social networking site. The XanGo brand is dominant on social networks and even appears in EA Sports’ FIFA Soccer, one of the world’s best-selling video game franchises.
So, why a brand? Because it’s a commitment. It’s about what we stand for and how we live it makes it true and authentic. A brand means values. You can say you have them, yet your brand is decided by how you live those values.
For XanGo, our brand is a source of pride from leaders in the field to our employees in the call center. And, at every board meeting, with every decision we make, our brand is a part of our conscience, reminding us to make those key decisions with respect to the values we’ve pledged to live.
For those who are part of XanGo, I thank you for what you do everyday to build this global brand. Every one of you is a part of why the XanGo brand has differentiated us in this industry.