I often think of the importance of the purpose of what I and what others do. This, particularly in todays environment and climate I guess it’s a true test of a business.
Take for example and I have no shame in this, Richard Branson and Virgin (other people that have annoyed me are available) asking employees take 8 weeks unpaid leave to enable the business to survive. Asking the government for a 7.5 billion bailout… well…what is this businesses purpose, is it solely to make money? Potentially not but when the owner sits upon a fortune it begins to beg the values of ones convictions.
Fortunately, even someone like Branson who many would normally deem as being extremely business astute can be forced into a humiliating backdown when they misjudge a situation and public mood... but the question remains, if the criticism, negative press, and general reaction never came about would he have dipped into his pocket for a 250 million float?
On the other side of the argument we have those businesses who have true purpose, particularly those who are seeking to help others. Is this where value now lies with customers and clients?! We see it daily now in our feeds about businesses attempting to profiteer from these new circumstances, in a sense this is business savvy: supply and demand. But business is now much more than this simple classic model. We have to have a purpose!!!
The biggest thing I love about what I do is the relationships I forge with each and every single client. They have invited me into their business at a very early stage to help shape and mould what they will become in the future. This is a tremendous privilege and indeed a huge honour. To become a part of a businesses story is a huge thing, and, indeed, not something to be taken lightly!
With each and every client I work with I draw on my past management experience, my past experience with business, and my creativity to help guide them in these early stages. Whether that be within their brand identity, their mission statement, or just pointing them in the right direction of a great marketing expert.
Its in these early stages of business where true purpose and true values are identified. This in turn will help contribute to the robustness a business needs in times that are the most trying.
Whilst I very much enjoy being part of a businesses beginning, I also enjoy strengthening a businesses brand and helping them re discover their purpose and values. Fortunately, this can be done at any point in the journey.
Now is as good a time as any, especially now that we all seem to have a larger proportion of time on our hands to re-evaluate and reflect on our businesses. It gives us a great opportunity to come back to our original values and understand the true purpose of why we do what we do.
I for one am going to use this time to strengthen my business, and indeed help others do the same, from planning, marketing, to values, CSR (continue ever lasting list here) to enable us to catapult ourselves back into the market once things begin to return to normal (whether that normality looks different to how we are used to is an entirely different question.)
I also intend to use my time constructively by offering to help small independent businesses who are feeling the biggest impact from this for free to help them bounce back and ultimately make their businesses more robust for the future.
How can you create, and strengthen a brand to make it future proof?
Purpose What is the purpose of your business? Is it to make money? This doesn’t sit well remember people don’t buy a brand, they join it.
What values does your brand have. Is it customer, is it employees, honesty, environment etc etc and the biggest question to ask is, are these values future proof? (If your business supplies a product which when produce is damaging to the environment, is this truly future proof?). Values change all the time, its our responsibility to make sure our values reflect in our actions (cough cough Mr Branson)
Mission What is your business trying to achieve? Are you trying to feed the faces of folk or are you trying to deliver an experience people will want to come back for time and time again?
Be meaningful Many businesses faulter at this line. So, you’ve spent hundreds on a brand-new stunning brand identity, you’ve re established your purpose and values and you can’t wait to get your brand-new shiny logo out there!... All of this should amount to a symbol of change, and not a change of symbol!
CSR Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint or helping those in need, we can all do something to make a better impact on our environment and/or in our communities.
Your offer Does the way you offer your product or service future proof you. Are you able to offer your product in store and online? Are you able to deliver your service with face to face meetings or a video consultation? I think this particularly now may come as a steep learning curve that we all need to adopt to ensure we are as robust as we can be for the future and to make sure that we maintain some form of offer and some form of presence.
People People, people, people! Now I’m not just talking customers: I often used to say to my team that it was important to treat each and every single person as if they were a potential customer, this ranges from delivery drivers, to employees, contractors, suppliers, each and every single person is a potential client who could keep you in business. Your brand and marketing strategy should reflect your demographic: profiling is one of the biggest tools in the arsenal to make sure we get it right! (unfortunately, no one really had a profile for a customer affected by a pandemic – lesson learnt).
Commitment When all is said and done at some point your convictions will be under scrutiny. Especially in situations similar to those that we are in now the flaws become glaringly obvious; it is essential to commit to what you have set out to achieve, even in the toughest environments.
Identity Finally your brand, and its identity should reflect and resonate your entire brand, from the iconography, typography, to the colour psychology it is important to get these right so your audience can easily relate to your business and your brand.
Looking back over the past few months no one could have guessed where we would be today. We have all been thrown out of the boat and are treading water hoping that we won’t sink. It is my strongest opinion that we now better ourselves, for our own sake, for our futures sake, and for the countries sake!
Why not use some time to check out my free brand health check tool and begin the process of future proofing. If you want to discuss how to begin strengthening your brand (or indeed if you just fancy a chat) please get in touch – We are in this together (Unless your Richard Branson you can just click away!)