Successful companies pay thousands of dollars to ensure they have the right brand strategy. They go through a branding exercise which can look like many different processes. But all of those procedures outline and define the essence of the product or service. With words and pictures and a room full of “key stakeholders” will contribute thoughts about their connection to the emotion of the brand or service. This is closely aligned with the process creating the “mission vision and values” statements that precede the strategic planning process. Branding is much like strategic planning when the brand exists. Oh wait – it is a process of shining light on the current brand and really looking at whether it’s the brand we want to be then getting buy-in (agreement) at all levels to create change which could also look like achieving goals.
Successful business people also need to fully understand their brand and assess the similarity or disparity to our assumptions. By that I mean your brand is in your control and you have to look at it from time to time to see if you are on track? Does your behavior and contribution line up with the direction you want you career to take? If you own the business, does you behavior match your business goals? How do you know? Just like you do business reviews for your clients, you must do a business review for your own brand, contribution and goals.
Here are three questions you can ask yourself or your team to clearly identify your brand, your contribution and outline goals for your career or product for 2011.
•What is the essence of the product or you? What words describe you? What does it look like? What color is it? What emotion does it evoke?
•What’s the burning question your business or product answers? In the case of you what problem do you solve? What happens when the client interacts with your product or service? Whose problems am I solving?
•At the end of 2011 what do we want to have changed, grown, learned or fixed?
This is as simple as a pad of paper. There are many more questions you can ask to start the thought process. It may be helpful to get a roomful room full of people to help you brainstorm with you. If you would like more questions to ask in this group form please send me an email.
Whether you sell a product or your service is the product or you work inside an organization your contribution to the brand is ongoing. Treat this as a living document to be revisited quarterly or at least annually.
Don’t forget to have fun with this process. The closer you are to your true brand your contribution is lighter and brighter and so not like work!