One of the problems with digital is that it’s moving quickly in many directions. Most marketers are lost and don’t really know which direction they should go in.
Should we invest in social or search or bloggers? Should we focus more on Instagram, Snapchat, or maybe we should go into breakthrough technologies like immersive 3D… But then, what’s about the collaborative economy….
Well, you probably know what I’m talking about… It’s always the same questions, over and over again.
1. When you’re lost, go back to basics
I’m a big believer in going back to basics when you’re lost, and using that as a choice decision funnel.
By “basics” I mean your “why” (sense of purpose) and “how” (values), but also your “what” (products and services).
I’m not revealing any breakthrough information here, with this diagram that just about everyone is already using:
Most marketers believe that the “what” is the most important factor, and that the “why” and the “how” can evolve. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
The “what” can totally evolve overtime, but it should remain aligned with the “sense of purpose”, those “values” that are your own.
Let’s make it simple: as a person, I can skydive, give conferences, take pictures etc… I can do many different things, but my “why” and my “how” will never change. That’s why I can have friends and people that appreciate me or even love me. Which probably also mean that some hates me.
It is very easy for me to express my values and my “sense of purpose”, but if you ask me what I do… The answer varies greatly depending on who you are. I might start with my job, but that doesn’t really define me.
Why is it that you readily accept that Arnold Schwarzenegger went from being an athlete to a movie star to a politician, and yet you can’t accept that what your company does could slightly change or evolve?
He is still the same person with the same “why”. He has carried out each and every job with the same values that define him, which is why people trust and love him.
This analogy may not be 100% accurate, but with brands, it’s not really that different.
2. You want to become a “love brand”?
Pretty much all the marketers I talk to want their brand to become a so-called “love brand”. Yet most brands just aren’t.
Wait! Have you ever wondered why that is?
When I meet with a marketer, I always remind him of this statistic: “If 90% of the brands disappeared, consumers wouldn’t care and would just consume other ones”.
What differentiates a love brand from another one is the ability for a consumer to connect with it on a high level?
It means understanding what the brand stands for and the valuesit carries, so that the consumer can make them his own.
The problem is that most brands have no clear sense of purpose, and their values change with the weather.
Sometimes the marketers are aware of these values. But all it takes is a quick poll in the marketing department, and you’ll see that these values are not shared, not even talking about the entire company.
But if you ask any employee what one specific brand does, he will probably be able to answer…
All employees should know the “why” and the “how” as well as the “what”.
And actually, the “what” (your product and services) is the most adjustable variable.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that the digital landscape has forced companies to change their “what”: the music industry used to produce CDs, BMW now also rents cars, etc… The list is long.
The process may be painful, but you don’t really have a choice. Although Kodak is used way too often as an example, look at what happens when a company tries to resist…
Embrace the evolution with a strong sense of purpose and shared values, and accept that what your brand does can actually evolve.