Your product is not your company (at least it shouldn’t be). Don’t confuse them.
I was at an event this past week and as we were talking post-presentation the topic of product companies came up. Now, we have all seen them: the company founded on a great idea, which becomes a product, which in turn becomes the company. None of which is a problem until you are trying to launch a new product and no one knows who the organisation behind the product is or what it stands for. Where do you go from there?
Building a company foundation of belief and purpose is just as important as getting your product on the manufacturing line. The trouble is that getting to those things involves exploring the messy questions such as “why” – not something people focused on “what” usually want to take time doing. But here’s something to consider before you ditch the next discussion. People buy products from companies, and when they know what your company stands for, and trust and respect it, they buy even more products! So taking that time might be the best investment in your future you can make.
If you look around you will see a trail of organisations that reach year three in their growth and suddenly find themselves stuck with product and company identities that are synonymous and have no place to go. Trying to create separation at this point, both internally and externally, is at best expensive and at worst, nearly impossible.
What you do can, will and should change over time, who you are should not. There a plenty of product companies out there that are built to flip long before this becomes an issue. However, if you are aiming to build something for the long haul, the question of “who are we and why are we here” should be top of the agenda at every company meeting until you find your answer, no matter what your products are today.
See you next week.
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Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brand Alignment Group she helps organisations align who they are with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.