Brand — Know Thyself
It’s Chaos Out There—Identify Yourself
The marketplace is noisy. It’s crowded with imposters and half-assed operators. It’s chaotic with the vapid and the vague. This playing field requires a brand with clear-eyed understanding and forthright confidence in its own truth. Success requires an authentic and full-fledged identity.
Start By Ignoring Your Customers
To be sure, the headline above is not one you would generally see from us. We are as customer-centric as they come, and suggest the same of our clients. BUT when it comes to truly determining your brand’s persona and personality—start inside. Start with what is real within your walls, within your heads, and within your hearts.
Who are we? What do we stand for? Where are we going? Why do we do this? This is not about the shape or color of your logo, or the pithiness of your tagline—this is
about the soul of your company.
Nearly all brand problems and missed opportunities begin with misunderstandings of the self. Great and healthy brands are as authentic internally as they are externally. People rally around belief and commitment.
It Might Hurt a Little
You might actually know all of the answers to your company’s Who, What, Where and Why. Excellent. Pencil’s down. You’re dismissed. (Although, hanging around will yield some further insight.)
You might not care about those questions and/or their answers. You may see no value in thinking beyond the cost paid to make the widget, and the price paid to sell the widget. Okay then. Bust your pencils in half and slam your finger in the door on your way out.
You may find this daunting and painful, and that would be normal. Taking a hard, piercing look at oneself can be difficult. But time and time again we’ve witnessed the amazing clarity and positive energy that results from genuinely discovering, stating, and standing by one’s true identity.
Bring in and talk to as many people as possible. CEOs and leadership certainly need to be a part of the exploration, but not the entirety of it. Gather internal stakeholders who work on varied levels, carry different responsibilities, and hold unique perspectives.
Bring the Chutzpah
It’s possible that once you have done a detailed self-examination of your identity, you may find that it’s not dissimilar to other like-minded organizations. Perhaps it
doesn’t vary wildly from the “expected” standards. No worries. Just do You better than anyone else could do YOU.
Find ways to be surprising. Don’t be wallpaper. Be bolder than others—whatever “bolder” means within your industry. It’s too easy to be status quo. It’s too lazy to do “Me Too” marketing.
Explore unique ways to display your position and demonstrate your core beliefs. Be real when looking at any aspect of your brand.
We all want to be around people who are authentic, people who have integrity, people who emit positive energy, and people who genuinely know themselves—the same is true of the brands we choose to associate with.
Imagine being able to confidently and boldly answer the questions: Who are you? What do you stand for? Where are you going? Why do you do this?
Go with the Chutzpah,
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