Since I can remember, I’ve had a love for the outdoors. I’ve expressed that in many ways over the years from biking in the ravine by my house in Mississauga while growing up, to moving to the ultimate outdoorsman’s paradise here in Yukon. Hunting is one of the main ways I express that love for the outdoors nowadays and while out on a sheep hunt last week a predictable, but somewhat sad, phenomenon occurred for a summer-lover: the leaves began to change. While that may surprise some of our southern readers, one thing you can rely on in this country is that the seasons will change at some point every year.
Reliability and change are also fundamental components that often exist in tension with one another in brand management. Change too much and nobody will be able to figure out why they should rely on you. Change too little and nobody will want to rely on your old-fashioned ways.
So how do brand managers strike the balance? As your audience forms a relationship with your organization, they are really doing so with your brand’s personality. As it is with people, those personalities which demonstrate long-term, stable and reliable characteristics tend to make excellent partners thanks to the trust that accompanies those characteristics. The best partners though are the ones who are not only reliable, but who can adapt, grow and change as the needs of their partners evolve.
Organizations that take the time to thoroughly understand their own personalities have a unique competitive advantage. They are able to simplify product, corporate, merger and acquisition, or even client decisions by evaluating how or whether it fits within their personality. As the personality becomes more engrained in the corporate culture, the easier those decisions become and the more you attract a like-minded audience.
Of course, some corporate personalities are themselves defined by change and that’s OK too; these organizations must [not so] simply be able to reliably change their offerings to satisfy their audience.
As I sat on the top of a mountain last week, I couldn’t help but think about how far I’ve come since bike riding in the city yet through it all, my personal love for the outdoors has remained the same. By staying true to that personality, I’ve attracted many like-minded people into my life who are now some of my closest friends. With fall in various stages of approach across this country, maybe it’s time for your organization to take a deep look at its own personality and how you can learn to maintain it, express it, and stay true to it, so that you too can create strong relationships that last through the changing seasons of your organization’s life.
Great article Steve! Well put: “Change too much and nobody will be able to figure out why they should rely on you. Change too little and nobody will want to rely on your old-fashioned ways.”