What are the enemies of the brand result? The desire to fiddle, resistance, and the doldrums.
The first one – the desire to fiddle – might feel counterintuitive. After all the things you do result in the brand. And while yes that’s true, for it to work you’ve got to do that stuff aligned around an org identity of purpose and values.
And that’s the bit you shouldn’t fiddle with.
I’m a long-time yoga practitioner and over the years a piece of great advice from teachers was to be still in the pose. When you’re constantly adjusting and moving you might feel like you’re making progress, but it’s only when you’re still you can feel where things aren’t aligned; where there’s a knot of tension or tightness you need to work on.
The brand result is similar. There has to be a period where you’re doing the deep work to find the identity and then once you feel like you have it, you need to be still for a while. Observe what you’ve uncovered so you can see any areas that need further work.
Once you’ve got the identity, you get down to the ongoing work that contributes to the brand result – that everyday stuff I always talk about. And even then the urge to tweak will return, especially when you’re working on something that doesn’t immediately feel aligned to the identity.
Because I guarantee if you’ve been in business for a while and are just doing the work of uncovering your org identity, you will have things in place and ways of working that won’t align right away. How could they? They were put in place before you had the insight you have now. They’re not wrong. They just need to evolve and with them so will your brand result.
It’s easy here to think it’s the identity that needs to be tweaked. And this is where so many organisations sacrifice the opportunity to achieve true alignment the opportunity for expediency. Taking the expedient path and leaving things in place that don’t align will just result in empty-shirt promises you can’t keep.
Which brings me to that second enemy of the brand result: resistance. Because if you’re doing the deep work and ignoring what’s convenient for what’s aligned, there will be resistance to doing things that might not be the way you’ve done them before.
If you’re using your identity of purpose and values as yardsticks for thinking and actions, there will be resistance. If you’re sticking with what you care about and not changing or tweaking it because other orgs are doing something and people think you should too, there will be resistance.
To achieve the brand result you want, is to wage a daily war against resistance. It is an ongoing battle, but it’s worth fighting. And just when you see it emerging, the last enemy appears to try its luck.
The last in my shortlist of enemies is the doldrums. The doldrums bide their time, waiting until the first rush of energy that comes from uncovering the identity has passed, until things are working smoothly and the hard choices have been made. When the zing had dimmed, that’s when the doldrums strike.
Desire starts to build. Figuring out how to align the supply chain to the identity and make it more efficient at the same time just isn’t cutting it. You want something bright, shiny and new. It’s human, the rush we get from new – whole economies are built on it.
Surely just a tweak wouldn’t hurt? Which brings us back to enemy number one …
There are lots of things you can and should do that are part of your brand result – I talk about them all the time. The hidden enemies are harder to see. But then enemies are insidious in that way.
So keep an eye out for these three enemies: the desire to fiddle, resistance, and the doldrums. And you’ll vastly improve your chances of a robust and resilient brand result people want to stick with.
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