Often, the calls I get revolve around helping CEOs and small business owners sort out the possibilities and establish the best priorities for their enterprises. I'll lead them through a simple decision tree process to come to a solution that delivers the greatest benefits possible with the least amount of new effort and investment.
While having a good system for making decisions is helpful, I tell them that they'll never have to make 90% of those tough decisions if they have a well-developed corporate brand! Huh? What's that Thom? What does a brand have to do with decisions?
Well, if by "brand" you are simply thinking about a mark or logo, then not too much. But, if you understand the full scope of what a brand can and should be, then it has everything to do with your direction as a company. While there are many different definitions and understandings of what a brand is, here is how I break it down...
A Brand is the overall perception of your product or service in the marketplace. It is not merely the ideal communication of a logo or tagline externally. A mature brand actually encompasses feedback from the marketplace about the reality of their experience with your product or service.
There can be many facets to a well-developed brand. But, there are 3 primary ingredients:
1) The Look - The logo, packaging, vehicle, decor, ambience, uniforms or any other ingredient used to make an initial impression upon or connection with your target audience.
2) The Promise - What exactly your company promises to deliver to your clients. The most powerful ones focus on avoiding/alleviating a pain or delivering a pleasure.
3) The Experience - The style and competence of delivery and feeling that clients experience in doing business with you.
If you have defined these for your company and have put operating principles and tactics in place that make these intentions a reality, then you have an infinitely better chance of consistently delivering on the expectations that you build in the marketplace.
As an added benefit, most of those nagging questions you have concerning new directions or opportunities won't even have to be made. Viewed through the prism of your "look," "promise" and "experience" you will find many options are legitimately "good," but not the BEST - that they simply don't "fit" with the direction of your brand. And, if your goal is to have a truly exceptional business, what you DON'T do is as important as what you do!