(Image/Gair Maxwell)

A CBC News investigation is providing conclusive evidence that your brand may not be what you think it is.

Repercussions from this report aired by Canada’s public broadcaster on March 6th are still being felt across the nation as one of the country’s major banks comes face-to-face with what the real definition of a brand truly is.

Specifically, the CBC probe revealed that:

  • Some employees admitted to breaking the law by providing customers products like overdraft protection and extended credit lines without their knowledge or consent.
  • Employees spoke of enormous pressure to apply aggressive sales tactics to achieve sales goals, or risk being terminated.
  • Hundreds of current and former bank employees flooded social media with stories describing a “poisoned” and “stress-inducing” work environment.

Since this story broke last week, the share value at the bank in question has dropped 5.5 per cent, representing the banks’ biggest one-day decline in 8 years. Damage from this one story has been enough to wipe out 7 billion dollars in shareholder value.

There are many explosive implications for your business and personal brand from this banking bombshell.

There is also an opportunity for you take full advantage of lessons this story offers, as we explore the 7 Billion Reasons Why Your Logo is NOT Your Brand on this edition of The Reinvention Chronicles.

“I realized the importance of having a story today is what really separates companies. People don’t just wear our shoes, they tell our story”


Imagine for a moment how many marketing dollars and manpower a bank would invest over a 24-month period in an effort to polish its image and present a trustworthy image to the world. And seeing the cumulative impact of all that work wiped out by a single story.

Incredible as it is to believe there is no shortage of CEO’s, MBA’s and data-driven marketing types who fail to appreciate how effective brand-building begins and ends discovering, telling and living a remarkable story.

It is failure to recognize this truth that opens the door for the type of stories that might be shared by disgruntled employees to a national news organization.

As the CBC report clearly demonstrates, stories are how we think and make meaning of the world around us. Stories are how we explain how things work, how we share ideas and justify our decisions, how we elect our leaders, understand our role on this planet, create our identities, and separate the good guys from the bad guys. In the case of the bank in question, stories can also change our perspective about comments from a CEO regarding his company’s culture in this recent interview.

Harvard Business School professor and author John Kotter once said, “Those in leadership positions who fail to grasp or use the power of stories risk failure for their companies and for themselves.”

Meanwhile, those of us in the audience will simply tell you that we never get tired hearing about companies with  inspirational, uplifting stories such as the one still being told and lived by Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoe Giver at TOMS Shoes.

Mycoskie was doing volunteer work in Argentina when he noticed that many of the children were running through the streets barefooted. In 2006 he launched a company from his apartment in Santa Monica, CA with the goal that for every pair sold he would provide a new pair of shoes free of charge to kids in Argentina and other developing nations.

TOMS canvas shoes have been given to children in 70 countries worldwide and are sold at more than 500 stores internationally.

Originally published in Reinvention Chronicles

Gair Maxwell’s critically-acclaimed book, “NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS” waits patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com. His newest E-Book, “THE REINVENTION CODE” – 7 Timeless Secrets to Unlock New Beginnings in Business & Life is available as a free download

Featured Contributor

Gair Maxwell, Contributor
If you are curious about having Gair deliver a thought-provoking, high-voltage and potentially soul-stirring presentation to your organization or upcoming conference, brace yourself for this type of feedback. Learn more about his energizing, mind-shifting, rock-your world keynotes, seminars, customized workshops and business coaching programs visiting gairmaxwell.com.

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