Do You Take Your Brand Serious Enough?

In your brand’s most powerful moment, does it have a sense of awe about that it is the only choice and all other things are completely ignored? This seldom happens without some sense of extremism that has been refined over time and is well-defined even at a distance.

If we do that, our brand will stand out. At the pinnacle of Apple success, they were differentiated by a product line that could fit on your kitchen table, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone that could not name them all, customers and non-customers. However few companies differentiate and take their uniqueness serious enough. They simply are not extreme enough. They are not willing to lead; they prefer to follow.

Brands are very much like Leaders. You have to have followers. To find followers you must participate and contribute to the growth of the community through your unique strengths. Ask yourself, “What positive contributions can we contribute that will be recognized?” Some would call that marketing.

The marketing space we reside in can often be thought of as a community. You need to participate in a community with like-minded folks and organizations that believe in a similar mission and invested and therefore very confident about their future. They often look past their own self-interest because of that shared vision to help the community even more so than themselves.

How do we get a started? It is not as hard as it may seem; the future is really defined by our past. But first, we need to get rid of the noise, the information overload of the present. So, if we look past the immediate future and create a vision on where you want to go. Sharing the message and repeating through stories and rituals on how you do that will turn that vision into values that you live every day.

At this point, you then determine your overall strategies and plans to move forward. And it really does not have to be that difficult. It starts by asking; What worked before? What do you know presently that will work? What other actions should I take now?

The stumbling for many is that they never have categorized and documented the past well, especially from an information or data standpoint. They never looked at data that is valid (relational), reliable (doesn’t fluctuate randomly) and variable (appears naturally in a range). People question the variable, but if it is not, you seldom recognize differences in customers and offering. You should embrace variability, not rid yourself of it. It is where your opportunities are often found.

Can you build a plan to do this? Maybe, but not like you first thought of a plan. We need to act on what we know and constantly have a conversation about the near-term future through reviewing data and summarizing. This enables us to look for trends through the intelligence we gather. Frequency and rhythm will beat glitz and glamour. What is important is using information in context, creating greater understanding and through this greater connectivity. Connectivity comes from our expressed value through rituals, the way we act, and stories. This is what carries over to the outside world. Our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings with our community, our insiders should be aligned with ours. And that is the most honest and intelligent way to develop an effective brand.

If you want momentum, you have to be able to move in a decisive manner and move with meaning. In the book, Know Can Do, the authors (Blanchard, Meyer, and Ruhe) outline 3 basic obstacles that prevent people from implementing what they learn. These obstacles are:

  1. Information Overload – trying to learn too much about too many things
  2. Negative Filtering – engaging in negative thought processes that prevent opening our minds to opportunities
  3. Lack of Follow-up – not having a plan to put the new knowledge into action.

The authors address these obstacles by closing the knowing-doing gap through these steps:

  1. Learning smaller bits of information more frequently instead of learning larger chunks of information less frequently
  2. Listening with a positive mindset
  3. Implementing “Positive thinking through coaching, reflection, and review.

To get started quickly, do something small which is much more effective than trying to take big leaps which can be a real stopper. Simply stated, small iterations are more effective than taking large leaps. Connecting people through a positive mindset approach and I will stop short of saying Appreciative Inquiry but again striking similar, always focusing on those positive steps. But implementation does not happen without reinforcement and primarily through coaching or some sort of reflection.

The only way to attract people is by your uniqueness. However, you must deliver it in a clear and concise authentic message that is first relevant to your insiders… your community.

This article came from my notes after reflecting on the new work of Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall documented in their book, Nine Lives About Work.

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