Imagine your company as if it were a living, breathing organism with a personality and a set of attributes that distinguish it from any other business in your industry. Understanding who your company is, rather than what, can help a marketer better understand its brand’s core essence, what it stands for and where the critical value lies for its customers. To gain this understanding, we ask that you look at your business in human terms.
A great way to discover the human qualities of your company is to gather some key internal stakeholders and commit an hour to collecting two pieces of information:
1. Who are you?
2. Who represents who you are?
Who are you?
In a meeting room with your colleagues, introduce the following conversation with the goal of collecting responses on a flipchart. Ask everyone to share words or phrases that honestly describe who the company is. Think in terms of personality traits, attributes, what your company brings to the party. Be mindful to avoid language that speaks to what you do. The old adage, “What you do does not define who you are,” applies here. Instead of descriptors like, “We install cabinets,” consider language like, “creative, designers, craftsmen, etc.” One way to approach this exercise is to imagine your company as if it were a friend and you are setting her/him up on a blind date. What words would you use to describe this potential date? What makes her/him special and why she/he would be someone with whom you’d like to spend time?
Fill up a flipchart with a healthy list of words like, “supportive, passionate, expert, reliable, generous, intelligent, authentic, professional, loyal, tenacious, innovative, clever, leader, etc.”
Who represents who you are?
Once you have an exhaustive list of personalities and attributes, think about blending them all together to form one individual. Ask your team to start identifying people in the public eye who fit the profile you just created. Call out celebrities who share those perceived qualities and represent the overall image of your company. Think of people who stand for the same things as your business. Strong and ambitious or sensitive and embracing? Cold and calculating or warm and pensive? Male or female? Young or mature? Ethnic? Educated? Wealthy? Warren Buffett or Jimmy Buffett? Kardashian? Gandhi? Clooney? Hawking?
Now that you have a list of famous people that represent the faces of your business, ask yourselves, how would this list differ from a list created by your customers? Do they see your company the same way? Who would be on their list that is not on yours?
Putting a face on your company can greatly help you better understand your competitive strengths, identify brand advantages and make your organization more human. If you could use some assistance putting your leadership team through a Who Are You exercise, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time…