Strategy

Do this and get that: Your brand result depends on what you’re trading

Michel Hogan /

You are achieving your brand today. Right now. Whatever you’re doing is contributing in some way. And right there is the power and the danger. Because too often people act absent of any basis for what they do. And without thinking about how the short term impacts the long term.

In simple terms, every action and decision is a trade. Do this and get that or not. When I use the term ‘trade’, people jump to the obvious commercial exchange inherent in all business models. However, I use the term far more broadly to describe the exchange made by our choices.

So does your organisation take a lackadaisical approach to trades? I see a failure of discipline cascading from the board room to the frontlines of enterprises big and small.

The choice to outsource and lower short-term costs is traded with control of a vital cog of the core business.

The decision to ignore a customer complaint because you feel like you haven’t done anything wrong is a trade with their goodwill.

The well-meaning policy to make processes more efficient is a trade with people’s sense of autonomy in their work.

And the snazzy marketing campaign involves trading the organisation’s ability to deliver for promises they can’t keep.

A brand result people want to stick with happens when people in the organisation are deliberate and conscious about the trades that live in what they do, how they do it and why they do it. Across the gamut of their actions and decisions.

Still, I’m not advocating for analysis paralysis. Applying the ripple effect to every move you make is unrealistic and a good way to ensure nothing gets done.

To make thinking about what you’re trading easier, you need to have a deeply rooted sense of your organisation’s identity (purpose and values). Not as a poster on the wall or statement in the strategic plan. But something that’s woven into the fabric of the organisation at every level.

Then, before you know it, deliberate practice becomes more second nature. Actions and decisions move you in the direction you want to go. The trades make sense. The short term and long term are in sync.

Sure the big stuff earns a bit of extra time to stop and check the angles out. But the other day-in day-out unheroic work flows together confident in the knowledge that everyone is on the same page.

What trades are you making?

See you next week.

NOW READ: We’re all human: Why customers need to be more forgiving

NOW READ: To achieve the brand result ditch ‘no because’ and embrace ‘yes and’

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Michel Hogan

Michel is an independent brand counsel advising organisations on the risk to their purpose and values of making promises they can’t keep — with a strong, resilient organisation and brand as the result. You can find Michel at michelhogan.com or you can follow her on Twitter at @michelhogan.

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