Welcome to 2014.
The new year is up and running and with it the usual to-do lists. If you are like me, the idea of one more well-intentioned “keeping resolutions” or “2014 to do” article is enough to make you want to just fast forward to June when those things are a faint memory.
And then sometimes among the fray, one jumps out and strikes a chord. That was the case with an article by Umair Haque on the Harvard Business Review blog site. You can read the full article here (note you will need a free HBR account – sorry).
The title of the article was ‘How to have a Year that Matters’ and aside from its great opening salvo “that there are no baby unicorns coming to save us”, it contained a list of questions that are worth spending a moment or two thinking about as we run off into the dog days of 2014. The questions can apply to people and organisations and are both universal and personal – and they can easily be used to help explore your brand and where it is headed in the year to come.
- Why are you here?
- What do you want?
- How much does it matter?
- What’s it going to take?
- Who’s on your side?
- Where is your true north?
- What breaks your heart?
- What’s it worth?
The article will give you a take on the intent of each question or you can skip straight to your own exploration.
Being deliberate and conscious about the brand you are building, and why you are building, is a fairly constant refrain from me on these pages. Questions (like these) are a great way to do that and sometimes the more unexpected questions can blast us out of our way of thinking to see things in a new way.
The question that really got me thinking over the break was “What breaks your heart?” It was a great way of diving into the idea of passion from a different direction.
So, over the coming months I’m going take a leaf out of Umair’s book and explore a variety of questions about brand. Some I get asked on a regular basis. Some I’ve seen asked of others. Some I just think are worth thinking about. And I hope that along the way we can untangle even a small part of the hype and myth of brand to help you do the things that matter.
See you next week.
Michel Hogan is an independent brand analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make.