When you do everything at once you never know what is working or what is not.
I was reminded of this again the other day on my yoga mat as I shifted around in my pose moving my foot, spreading my shoulders, pulling up my knees … you get the idea. But it wasn’t until I stopped and took a few breathes that I could actually feel where I was and figure out what I needed to shift.
It’s the same thing when you are building brand. The tendency is to try a whole heap of new things and to keep piling them on. Add this, do that, go here and here.
I blame Seth Godin (well, not really) who famously said, “Do lots of stuff and keep what works.” Not bad advice except it’s missing an important qualifier –just not all at once.
A lot of people I work with have no idea what they need to start doing, or stop doing, or keep doing – and not because they don’t have the right foundations of values and purpose to help guide them. For a change it’s a different problem (however, if you don’t have those things then go read this blog first).
Technology has made it much easier and cheaper to send things to customers. To make changes to website home pages. To trial new pricing and new offers. To target a lot of different groups of people. And while all that is great, the unintended consequences is that too much is done all at once so no one knows what worked and what didn’t.
Add to that the explosion and easy access of brand-help blogs and success stories where a constant stream of things that worked for other people can be almost irresistible, especially if things you’re doing don’t seem to be working out so well.
But a bit of resistance in this case is a good thing.
So here’s my challenge to everyone this week. Stop. Just for a week or two or four. Let yourselves be inside your brand. Are you extended where you shouldn’t be? Where are things tight and not flowing well? What is getting in the way? What’s out of alignment? What’s strong and doing what it’s supposed to?
Don’t change anything. Don’t add or subtract anything. Just practise some observation with intent. Once you’ve stopped wriggling around for a few breaths (or weeks) you’ll be much better placed to know what you need to do next. Chances are whatever it is will surprise you.
See you next week with “I didn’t keep my promise. What now?”
Michel is an independent brand analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.