I had an interesting conversation recently.
The conversation was intended to focus on this particular company’s story and message. It seemed that, over time, they had drifted from their core messaging and had added products and ideas that were disconnected. Naturally, when you add things into a message that don’t quite fit, the message becomes cumbersome and difficult to explain.
So, we started the conversation by asking the group of executives to share what they believed the “brand” stood for. Its an open-ended question that allows the answers to flow in several directions. It is a great excercise to see how your own team perceives the brand.
Interestingly, after about 20 minutes of healthy dialog, the reality was that the brand was not JUST about the product
In fact, we didn’t talk about the product at all during that 20 minutes. It was about the people and the difference they hoped to make in the lives of others. Clearly, the product is a part of the message because, in their minds, it delivers on a piece of the promise. However, it was only the starting point for the difference they hoped to make.
Now, don’t get me wrong. They all love and use the products on a daily basis and share them with their friends and family.
However, they are OVER THE TOP passionate about wanting to help people. Not in a vague sense. It was very real and very defined. Their idea of helping had real meaning and real clarity. There was nothing “wishy-washy” about it.
Yet, when looking at all the collateral and messaging, “who they are”, the most passionate part, is not visible.
Rather, the product and the science of the product is front and center. Their messaging was designed, almost, to attract a legion of wannabe scientists — which is disconnected from the warmth and caring that is truly the passion and focus behind the organization.
Some finesse is required to present the product with a deep and caring meaning. The product has to stand on its own and the company and its culture and belief system is also super important.
Be who you are.
Let it show. And if people like it, they will want to be a part of what you’re doing.
If they don’t, they won’t. Pretty simple.
You are not going to get EVERYBODY to join you and that’s ok. Look for the ones that believe in the things you believe in. There should be enough of those out there to build an incredible business with.