“Happenstance how” is the enemy of a great brand

The focus is all to often at the edges. Why are we here? What are we going to do, deliver, say and be?

The “how” in the middle gets scant attention by comparison. Of course it doesn’t get totally missed or “what” would never happen. The “how” that gets missed is the deliberate and conscious how that deeply connects the “why” to the “what”.

Nearly every day I stumble on another instance of the other “how”. You know the one. The “we’ve always done it that way”, “everyone else does it that way”, or “it’s too hard to do it the other way” how.

This is the “how” that just happens. I’ve come to calling it the “happenstance how”. “Happenstance how” is the enemy of any organisation that wants a great brand result.

And if you’ve ever looked at the way you do something and thought, “there must be a better way”, then just gone on with the way it’s always been done, then the enemy is at your door and you’ve got “happenstance how” going on.

The right “how” is as important to a great brand result as products, services, purpose and values. “How” is the way everyone, internally or externally, tangibly experience those other pieces. And if you’re not sure what I mean, take a minute to think about the last time an organisation let you down.

It might have been the product or service – mistakes and defects can bedevil even the most rigorous quality standards. It might also have been a higher order failure of purpose. You thought the organisation stood for something that didn’t turn out to be true.

But just as likely – and I’ll go so far as to say more likely – it was a failure of “how”. How they did something, delivered something, didn’t fix something, didn’t follow up on something or didn’t tell you about something in the first place.

If I went into those organisations and asked them why that something was the way it was, I’m sure you can guess the answers I’d get. All the things I mention above. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Does the way we do this support and demonstrate our purpose? Why not? How can it?

What do our values tell us about the way we should do this? If the answer is nothing then maybe they aren’t the values. Read the other articles I’ve written about values if this is the case.

What should we change, do differently so it aligns with both purpose and values?

It does take a bit more time to think things through and explore those deeper questions. It’s time worth spending to show the enemy of happenstance the door and put your organisation’s identity of purpose and values back in charge. Oh and the payoff will be a strong and resilient brand people care about.

See you next week.

Michel is an Independent Brand Thinker and Adviser dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. You can find Michel at michelhogan.com or you can follow her on Twitter @michelhogan


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