What a conundrum: we live is such a transparent world that often seems anything but transparent.
Social media has allowed us to see more than we want to see about people, companies and brands. If you or your company are not walking the talk someone will notice and likely call you out. That can scare brands away from being who they really are.
Fake news, fake Insta, fake FB. We are tired of all of it. A culture of impatience and a hunger to impact the greater good is surging.
And that is where the opportunity lies.
Brands that are purpose driven don’t hide. You can’t fake purpose and why would you? In repeated surveys and on every measure of business success, purpose driven brands outperform brands that either are not purpose driven, or cannot communicate their purpose.
Brave brands stand up for their why and are rewarded for it.
Is purpose driving your business?
I have worked with many companies suffering from a brand identity crisis. It usually does not start with a phone call that says “Hey, Janet can you help us out with our brand identity crisis?”
Generally it’s the bottom line that speaks up first and gets everyone’s attention. Underperforming products, missed targets, and poor launches are all warning signs.
Sometimes it’s noticed in HR where a growing discontent leads to turf wars and the start of a toxic culture.
Generally there is just a deep confusion that feels chaotic, and a sense of being rudderless. People become very busy but the results don’t change.
The natural inclination is to fix what is broken. People look at the micro level, fix, and tweak, but when the results don’t change, it’s a long and drawn out death until capital runs out or clients simply run away.
For those not willing to let that happen they usually need to take on the elephant in the room.
It’s usually brand.
We are not talking about poor font choices (but don’t pick ugly fonts).
Somewhere along the brand chain something is not aligned; and it can send your company quickly in a downward spiral.
Ask the following five questions and see how your brand stacks up:
- What are your corporate values? Do you live them everyday with your team, with your clients? Don’t think this is just the light fluffy stuff. This is the core of success. Don’t settle here for words that sound good but don’t mean anything. Your values should light you up, and everyone you work with everyday.
- Do your corporate values show up in how you answer your phone, send an email, or do a presentation? Can you see it and hear it? Can you pinpoint and say “Yup, that is us. Nobody does it like us.”
- Do your values resonate with your clients? After all, this is all about them. Would your clients recognize your values?
- Who is your top customer – today, last year, next year? Can you name them by first name? (You can’t imagine how many companies cannot do this. So if you can’t answer this question you are not alone, but it is not who you want to hang with.)
- Are you doing the work, making the products, selling the services that are deeply connected to your corporate values? The struggle is real on this one so don’t just tilt your head and say, “I think so.” Get your sales team together, do the math and see if there is a match with your brand values. You will be glad you did.
There are many aspects about your branding statements that will propel you to success and I will write about more of them. But none of them will be as critical as understanding your core values.
Ignoring branding statements will affect your bottom line.
Embracing branding statements will also affect your bottom line.
Once a term like personal branding becomes a “thing” it becomes a misunderstood “thing”.
The question I hear most is, “Isn’t personal branding just another form of bragging?” And in our insta-happy, Facebook perfect, selfie world that could certainly be true.
But don’t be fooled.
True personal branding could not be further from bragging.
Personal branding is about finding the best way for you to help others. It is about becoming more of you, not a new you, not an improved you, or a thinner you. It is not you in a red power suit and Louboutins.
It’s about the courage to look deep and say, “This is my set of uncompromising values, this is what I do best, this is what I stand for and stand up for. This is how I am different and like no one else. This is how I can best help you.”