I’m afraid that despite the title this is not a self help blog. Well, perhaps it’ll help me to get this one off my chest so maybe it is.
I’m surprised by the number of business in the twenty-first century that don’t know who they are. I mean business that don’t have a fully formed mission, vision or values. Most (but not all) have a fairly clear visual identity as that’s the obvious part of branding but branding is not a logo. Your brand is your company’s personality – is your personality defined by what you wear?
A quick recap on what these brand essentials are. Your mission statement is a clear and succinct message about who you are today. A good example of this is Coca Cola whose mission statement begins “To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit”. This brings their clear product goal of refreshment together with their company goal of making people happier through their product whilst talking to their global distribution.
Your vision on the other hand is about where you want to get to. Again clear and succinct but now looking to the future rather than the present. A good example here is the hotel chain Hilton who talk of filling the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality. Again this talks to their core service but focuses on how it can globally improve lives as an ongoing vision.
Worth noting that crafting these statements is not for everyone. There is a real skill to it because, as you can see, they are practically poetry for business.
Now you have a view of where you are and where you want to be and so you can build a strategy that takes you from A to B. Until you have this you can’t build your values – what you stand for. Here you must be authentic. Are you customer centric? Are you really? Don’t pretend you’re something you’re not or every decision based on your values will be wrong and you will demotivate your staff and likely irritate your customers.
You cannot define your visual identity until you have all of the above as the way you choose to look must reflect your personality. You don’t see kings and queens in jeans and trainers and you don’t see politicians dressed as clowns (very often). If these don’t fit then it can confuse and even scare consumers.
There’s much more on this and how to build your brand and then your strategy in my latest book, Digital Marketing Strategy.