Last November, I was asked to speak about the Four Essentials of Business, a framework for building a successful organization. Over the next few months, I’m going to divide that talk into 4 blog posts, one for each “Essential”.
The first Essential is a company’s identity, sometimes referred to as the company “brand”. The problem with the term “brand” is that for too many, the thinking is limited to a logo or the creative aspect of marketing. But brand identity is so much more than that. Your organization’s brand identity is who you are… your “why”, your values, your vision and your mission.
For example, what is the Starbucks brand all about? It’s more than just the green mermaid logo. Do you know what Starbucks’ mission is? It’s “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” This plays into their identity. When I walk into my Starbucks, the Baristas know me. They know my favorite drink. The aura of every Starbucks has that community feel, people talking over their coffee drinks. This is who they are!
Or what about Nike. What’s their brand? It’s so much more than a $23 swoosh. Their mission is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Yes, they sell shoes, clothing and leverage highly paid athletes in winsome, inspirational commercials. But at the end of the day, they’re looking to inspire us.
So, maybe you’re asking, “How do I figure out my company identity?” Glad you asked. Below I’ve provided six simple questions you and your leadership team can work through to help you get more clarity on your organizational identity.
- Who are we?
- What is it that we do?
- Why does it matter?
- Who are our customers?
- How do they see you?
- What is the unique buying state of your customers when they come to you?
If you go through an open and honest exercise in answering these questions, you’ll move closer to defining your identity as an organization.