Why talk about the future state of your brand?
Look ahead and dream about what would make your brand a kick-ass success. Now start planning for it.
What if you could turn the clock back 5 years?
Thinking about the state of your brand and business today, what would you have done to make your brand either stronger today, or more fit for the future it faces?
If we had this magical power, we would be able to go back and pull the strings, turn the dials, and change the gears of our complex brand workings. With the power of hindsight, we’d be able to avert many of the business problems that plague us today.
For example, we’d see that by making more emotionally meaningful connections with people, both inside and outside our brand, we’d be more important to our customers and employees (so the best ones would stay with our brand). We’d be more attractive to the best prospect and recruits (so we’d continue to grow and become a stronger company). We’d also be more valued by partners and investors (so we’d be more powerful and stable).
Unfortunately, none of us has this amazing power to go back in time. But all of us can look forward and imagine a future-state for our brand. We can foresee a time when people truly respect, admire, trust and support our brand because of the nature of the relationships our brand forges with people.
Working back from our idealized future-state, we are better able to analyze what we’re doing now, and to identify what changes we need to make, across two interdependent spheres:
- Internal – what must we do to ensure that our people, processes, policies and procedures are working to make our workplace more emotionally meaningful (thereby engendering a internal culture of innovation, collaboration and personal gratification.
- External – what changes do we need to make to our ways of creating and managing our marketplace presence (sales, distribution, marketing, advertising), so that customers and prospects are better able to sense our brand’s meaningful intent?
Most critical to this process is having a clear definition of your brand’s “meaningful intent”. For me, this has two components:
- A purposeful ambition – an idea that speaks to all your brand constituents because it addresses a higher-order intent than making money; this idea articulates how your brand will make the world a better place because of how it affects the human condition (e.g. making people smarter or healthier, making the world a safer or cleaner pace, etc.); properly crafted, this ambition idea will flow naturally from the business behind the brand, and add to it a new, appealing and motivating dimension.
- A purposeful ambition and emotional aura are not replacements of anything – but they are complements to everything. They shift the way your brand reaches out to people. They change the nature of brand interactions. They introduce meaning and emotions in ways that change the way people think, feel and act.
You can’t go back and fix today. But you can start today to transform your brand to one that succeeds tomorrow because it is more emotionally meaningful to people.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco bran