Does your brand know where it’s going? More importantly, are you clear where you want it to go?
When developing a brand or briefing a consultant, it’s critical to consider what you want your brand to look like in, say, five years time, or more. Try not to focus only on where you are now. Change may be incremental, but without direction it’s easy to lose sight of your goals and the organisation becomes simply reactive – and that’s reflected in your brand’s personality.
Where do you hope your future business will be? Will it have grown, or relocated? What mix of products or services would you like it to be providing? What is your dream – indulge yourself in a little dreaming – imagination is a great asset to brand builders.
No crystal balls – vision belongs in the real world.
In today’s fast moving markets, with new and innovative technologies and disruptive change, it’s hard to predict the future. But vision depends upon your desires and goals. There’s nothing wrong with having fuzzy goals – in fact, flexibility allows the brand vision to adapt and stay relevant.
What do you think the world will look like – how will your market change? At the top of the list, think who will your audience be – will you be selling to just the same people or perhaps a wider market, maybe more international – people who want different things from you.
Your brand’s relationship with its audience is primarily an emotional one, so you need to spend some time considering what you want the nature of that relationship to be. What do people to feel about the brand – and how are they likely to feel?
Consider the social changes you can see now – diversity, inclusivity, social and environmental responsibility. How are we likely to progress – what opportunities are presented for your brand?
Where’s the brand going – and where are you going?
You also need to consider what your ambitions are for your business. Will it be a lifestyle business or will you be looking to sell? This could have a major impact on how you want your brand to be.
Consideration of your brand vision can be enjoyable and fun. It’s about looking at a big picture and your wishes and desires for that brand. You may be just at the start of that journey and are having to deal with all the day-to-day issues of the business. Taking time out to crystallise your dreams can re-energise you and your budding brand.
The same is true for a brand that’s been around for some time. Is the vision that existed at the start still there – is it still relevant for today – is it fit for tomorrow?
Vision is the responsibility of brand leadership and that must rest at the highest level in any business.
- Take some time out to dream. Get out of the office – leave your phone behind – even just for a hour. Visualise – then write down your vision. Allow your imagination to fly, don’t anchor it down.
- Talk to others, discuss your vision. Colleagues may add to and enhance it. The more it’s talked about, the more substance it will have and the more likely to be realised.
- If you are working with outside consultants or specialists, your vision may be the most useful starting point you can give them, and a benchmark against which to measure results.
- Get help and talk with people outside the business. There is no substitute for day-to-day knowledge of the organisation and its market, but it’s true that that you can also be too close. Working in the business can get in the way of seeing the brand as others see it. CEOs and owners can benefit from a little objective brand mentoring.