Posts Tagged ‘planning’
Your Brand is a Sculpture Saturday, March 12th, 2011
Branding is a common term in business, known by most who hear it. It is discussed in business school, in noted publications and professional journals, focused on by gurus and consultants, and culminates in an empty “buzz” concept for most business owners, especially smaller businesses. Some businesses may give some heed to the concept of “branding” as one of the first steps toward opening your doors which results in a logo, business card, and letter head design. Done, right? Now that the brand is out of the way, we can move on to real business! Not so fast…
Branding is likely one of the least understood concepts in business yet carries a power much greater than the next “super” marketing technique or really any technique available today. Most individuals think “logo” when they hear the word “brand”. That is just one piece.
Every top executive team or business owner is an artist with their brand as the sculpture. The logo may very well be the “eyes” of the brand but there is much more to a complete sculpture than the eyes alone. The fact is, every business is a complete brand, whether they are conscious of it or not. A focus on the eyes alone leaves the rest of the body to the half-hazard design of the environment within which we operate. The ears, nose, mouth, head, limbs, and torso are all sculpted by the elements around us, whether that is the opinions and results of customers, the legal and regulatory landscape, or the internal bureaucracy of doing business. The sculpture ends up with unmatched and poorly formed results. Often the hideousness of the rest of the sculpture causes most potential customers to completely miss the well formed eyes (logo).
Not all brands ignore the rest of the sculpture although very few take into account the complete sculpture, maybe noting the eyes and nose but forgetting the rest. The fact is most brand design is incomplete at best and damaging to the organization at worst.
- A brand is defined by The American Marketing Association (AMA) as follows:
“a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
This definition is not branding, it simply lists a few of the representations of a brand, a few of the potential components of a brand. Definitions such as this have lead most organizations to compartmentalize their brands into separate components that are viewed, researched, and designed separately. This is as if a different artist sculpts each piece of the body with their own thoughts and influences, coming together at the end with a somewhat complete sculpture (inevitably leaving out at least a few pieces.) The result is a chaotic mismatched, disproportioned mess. Each piece may have been a work of art independently but when brought together, the lack of cohesion destroys anything considered “art.”
Become a master brand artist and take the whole sculpture into account. In future posts, we will discuss more of the issues surrounding branding and the solutions to building complete, powerful brands. What do you think? How have you viewed branding? Do you know of brands that are better at seeing the entire sculpture?
How To Assess If You Are Busy Or Productive Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
We spent our last My Business World coaching call talking about planning efficiently and effectively. We don’t just get tripped up because we don’t plan. In fact I don’t think planning is our #1 issue. What good is planning after all if you don’t execute.
This is where time management comes in. Business owners can find things to do for days but how do you know if you are spending your time wisely?
There are two pieces to this formula that you can look at to help you assess your time management.
The first exercise is to do an activity inventory. Take five-ten and write down every single thing you have going on personally and professionally. Don’t over-think this and literally write everything down.
Now step back and look at it. Are there things in that list that need to be moved off of your plate?
Here’s one way that you can help decide.
Think about an ideal situation where you are only doing the work where you bring the most value to the table. What does that look like on a per hour basis? Is it $100/hour? Is it $500/hour?
Now go back to your list and ask yourself if there are activities that you can give to someone on your team or that you can hire out that would cost you less than the dollar per hour value that you ideally bring to the table.
This means most likely cutting out some paperwork or maintenance activities etc.
This sounds simplistic in its’ approach but the reality is you are probably wasting a lot of time working on activities that bring no real value to your business and that keep you plenty busy but ultimately keep you from being productive.
Spend some time this week to assess your activities. What are you spending the majority of your time on? What are the time wasters for you? What are you doing that you hate? Look at these activities and look for ways to get them off your plate and move you closer to your most productive year in your business yet.