I've been really busy this week, with lots going on everywhere it seems. The economy being what it is, the teams I work with have gotten even smarter and more innovative than ever. New ideas are flowing, new ways of segmenting customers into groups to communicate with about things that matter to them seem to be born each day. It is really invigorating. And a heck of a lot of work for everyone. We have web designers, print designers, developers, and production directors working night and day to make the most of every opportunity that anyone dreams up.
Somehow the "slow" times don't seem so slow right now. The "down" economy is not resulting in less work to do. All this is very good news to me, and to everyone I work with.
One thing I have noticed is the proliferation of new small consultancies and companies setting up shop in the marketing space. Social media experts are everywhere. Web 2.0 is becoming Web 3.0 ... or is that 3G? ... There are new formulas for measuring marketing ROI, new CMS systems for the next generation of Web design. New digital printing and print-on-demand technologies. New "world changing" case studies of how Twitter can save your business or make you a billion dollars and thousands of followers trying. Evolving copyright rules and regs. New must have systems and processes.
Everywhere you look people are reinventing themselves. That seems to go for brand companies too. Just a quick google search and you will find a miriad of purported experts, with decades of experience. Some in packaged goods, others in the service business, some in commercial sales, or ad agencies.
Every one of them seems to have their own formula for getting to the heart of defining and giving meaning to a brand. I pity the poor small business owner out there looking for a solution online and having to decipher process A from process B and all the rhetoric that surrounds it.
Whatever you call it, at the heart of it all isn't brand really about:
- who are you?
- what do you do?
- why does that matter?
- how do you deliver?
And then what does your customer think about it after they've had the chance to taste your wares, kick your tires, experience a stay in your shop? Does that at all come close to connecting with what you said you what to be? If so, I'd say whatever road you followed to get there and whomever's process you used - it worked.
My advice to anyone trying to figure out this space - it's not as complicated as we sometimes like to make it. Follow the few simple questions and be honest about every moment of truth.