Last week a friend told me I was (very briefly) mentioned in Seth Godin’s latest book. So being the vain little schmuck that I am, I made sure to check it out at the airport book store before my flight home. Sure enough, on page 61 Seth speaks about, and coins the term, “Krulak’s Law” partially based upon an old GrokDotCom post of mine.
Here’s the Law:
“The closer you get to the front, the more power you have over the brand.“
It’s called Krulak’s Law because Marine Corps Commandant General Charles C. Krulak was one of the very first people to see the consequences of an ever-present and hyper-democritized media. Here’s a brief excerpt on what he had to say about it in his seminal 1999 article titled, The Strategic Corporal:
“In many cases, the individual Marine will be the most conspicuous symbol of American foreign policy and will potentially influence not only the immediate tactical situation, but the operational and strategic levels as well. His actions, therefore, will directly impact the outcome of the larger operation; and he will become, as the title of this article suggests – the Strategic Corporal.”
My blog post merely pointed out that this dynamic was hardly unique to the Military. Businesses must also come to grips with this reality in light of the damage – and good – that can be done to a brand by frontline employees. Here’s a few examples of this:
Basically, the more you are willing to push decision-making and responsibility down the organization and the more you’re willing to hire and train people to thrive in this kind of organization, the better off you’ll be in a 2010 world of interconnectivity, social media, and online reviews.
Even for online businesses, help desks and customer service reps can save sales or flush them away depending on both their skill and their level of empowerment to fix situations.
Every touchpoint with your business matters, even – no especially – the ones you may not give any thought to when thinking about your marketing. In some ways it’s the clean bathrooms syndrome – except with the added threat of having pictures of your “dirty bathroom” broadcast throughout the WWW.
Bottom Line: if your organization hasn’t yet come to grips with Krulak’s Law, now’s the time.