Feeling stuck?

What do you do when you are feeling stuck? A great question presented to me recently by my business mentor.

I have a list of people on the wall that I think are next level in how they do life / aspects of life. When I get stuck I turn to one of them.

Here are a few names of my ‘inspiring people’ wall:

  1. Cathie Wood – The founder and CEO of Ark Invest, investment management firm focused on disruptive innovation. She is known for her investment strategies and predictions around technology and future trends in the market. Big Ideas 2023
  2. Bernadette Jiwa – The author of ‘Marketing – A Love Story’. Her book reminds me of why I love brands and marketing. It’s the connection piece of people to business and business to people, through brand.
  3. Jim Kwik – Author of ‘Limitless’, known for his ‘compound learning’ theory and practices. The basis of his methods is small actions and skills over time to accelerate learning.
  4. Kevin Finn – A brand guy. Author of Open Manifesto and Brand Principles. I have met him twice and really love how he talks about doing work that matters. He is constantly talking about the difference between brand and branding… and how many businesses get this wrong.
  5. Sri Ramana Maharshi – His ‘self enquiry’ teaching is based on uncovering your true self by questioning where your thoughts and emotions come from, leading to an unshakeable knowing and heightened intuition. The Silent Sage of Arunachala film

How does this question translate to a brand? First what are the early warning signs of a brand being stuck:

  1. Growth stalls – You are seeing declines in your sales, data metrics, revenue
  2. Employee engagement – Your high performers start leaving.
  3. Ideas are not being shared – There is a lack of innovation.
  4. People are going through the motions of maintaining but not expanding.
  5. Customer connection is weighing – Engagement and perception scores are down. The customer is redirecting their attention.
  6. You are out of sync with the market – You may be falling behind on technological advances or not adaptive to changing market conditions.
  7. Fixation on the competition – you can risk comparing yourself to a status quo that can be gazumped by a new competitor, e.g. Apple entering the phone market.

If you catch a stuck brand early enough, you can not only fix it, but make it a whole lot better. We have seen so many big turnarounds: Netflix – DVDs delivered to your mailbox to video streaming and content; Amazon – books to cloud services becoming the biggest part of their business; Marvel – comics to cinema.

How to get a brand unstuck?

  1. Re-evaluate the brand strategy
  2. Conduct market research – internally and externally.
  3. Make improvements to your product / service
  4. Strengthen your brand presence – online and offline
  5. Further build on your current customer relationships
  6. Invest in your team (training and development). This includes your leadership team and ensuring they have the ability, they buy into the brand strategy, and they can lead.
  7. Bring in the experts – If you don’t have the time to build your mastery in marketing and brand. “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” – Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine.

Brand strategy will drive all your decisions. So start there!

Once you have your brand strategy solid, each area of the business then needs to ask how does the brand strategy translate to product, for example? What materials should we be using, what suppliers do we want to work with, what’s our pricing strategy, what are the product improvements and technology that we will invest in, who will we collaborate with, etc.

Before signing off… I will add that even though feeling stuck doesn’t feel good, it is an important part of how we, our brand and the people around us grow and reach new heights.

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