October 20, 2017

Refined or just reticent?

Group of people listeningOr is it just natural human reticence that most of us could do with overcoming (though some were never troubled in this way)?

For many, we need to work at putting ourselves out there to be judged. It’s uncomfortable, or seems so at first. But arguably it’s part of the natural human journey of increasing maturity, if we choose that particular part of the path.

How do you decide whether you are being admirably refined or just unwisely and over-cautiously reticent?

The wrong choice could be holding you back and, conversely, a change could propel you forward.

Just because something is comfortable, doesn’t mean it’s right: It just means it’s our usual habit—a familiar, programmed pattern that was helpful once but perhaps not any more.

Brand—a relationship thing?

High Street sceneWe tend to think of brands in isolation, as if they exist in their own right, in an absolute sense. We think of a logo perhaps, or a style of packaging, or a particular tagline or strapline.

Actually…

The properties of a brand only really exist in the minds of its followers, or the people who are aware of the brand; the community built around it.

So…

A brand really has the features of a relationship, and a brand and its following are two sides of the same coin. The one doesn’t exist without the other.

Without a following, you don’t have a brand.

Build a following, and your brand will mean something.

Have a clearer brand, and more people will follow.

Action plus brand equals result

High Street sceneMaybe there’s something we’re missing…

It’s healthy to believe we can replicate others’ success in leading change, or in achieving business results.

We can, and the approach is a good one.

But there is something we need to remember…

There is a missing element…

And that is the esteem in which we (or our exemplar of success) are held by our market, our audience or our constituency – whatever the most appropriate collective word is for the people we intend to influence.

One word for that relationship between a business and its market, or a person and their following, or a change agent and their community is “brand” – a kind of label summing up the relationship. Brand is something we can develop, of course, but only over time.

If you think about it…

Brand really refers to something that exists in the audience, not in the business. And if you want to study a brand, you need to talk to the market.

And…

When we take action in expectation of a result…

Members of our audience weigh our action in its own right, yes, but then they factor in their beliefs about us; how they perceive our standing and credibility; in other words, our brand. And then they decide: Yes or no.

Same action, different brand leads to different result.

So…

What’s your sense of your brand?

How might it be affecting your results?

And how might you develop it differently for the future?