Brand Identity Crisis

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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.”
    3. Do your values resonate with your clients? After all, this is all about them. Would your clients recognize your values?
    4. 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.)
    5. 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.

How to Be a Brand Within a Brand

As a marketer I look for gaps where opportunities lurk. It took me 20 years to find a glaring gap.

As a brand strategist, (although the most endearing title I was given was brand therapist!) I have built many strong, insightful and actionable brand strategies. Most met or exceeded the goals and objectives set.

And those are the best of times!!!

Some failed miserably.

That broke my heart.

Why would some thrive and some flop? The work was sound. Sometimes it was resource based, or commitment, or leadership. Maybe they just weren’t ready, or was that an excuse not an answer.  I had this gnawing feeling that there was something else at play. 

I dug deep into research, read, and listened to podcast after podcast. I surveyed clients, and talked to business owners. It wasn’t until I came across the work being done on personal branding that it all came together. The missing link: unless you understand your own personal value proposition, you can’t further along the corporate value proposition. 

Unless you can confidently stand up and say, “here is what I do best and this is why you need me on this project” and conversely be able to say, “this is not what I do best and I will likely not be successful on this project.” Personal branding is not for the faint of heart and has nothing to do with the car you drive. It has everything to do with the engine that drives you forward and the values of your personal dashboard .

Challenging times can result in businesses wanting to be all things to all people. Suddenly that means employees have to be a jack-of-all-trades too. Blending in becomes a much safer option than standing out; and as we all know, safe is never where success thrives.

However, when people connect and stand up for their unique personal attributes it is a game-changer. Engagement is real. Morale skyrockets, strategies that flopped became strategies that sail.

Finding, defining, and communicating your personal brand will transform you, your work, and how others see you.

Want to create your personal brand? Click here.

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