Change wakes us up and can re-energise our business strategies


Tuesday 13 November 2018



October felt like a month full of changes: my early-morning rowing began under moonlight, my youngest is now in the Big Kids part of primary school and I have a teenager who's done with school and about to go to India for three months...

Change is good for us. It can wake us up - and we should use that energy to take stock of our businesses.

Sadly too, among acquaintances (luckily not close friends) there have been sudden deaths in middle age, one very sudden and out of the blue. That moment of waking up, the sense of loss when we realise that something (or someone) that was there is gone is a powerful and underrated emotion. There is alertness in there, something that we can really use to take a step back.

If any of this resonates with you then you might even be asking yourself 'Why do I get out of bed in the morning - what for?' Actually, this is a brilliant starting point for a positive conversation about your business, and my favourite moment when facilitating workshops.

Getting into the why, how and what
We use 'why', 'how' and 'what' a lot, as key pointers in helping businesses re-energise, stand out online and become clearer on where to focus.

We can't really go into the full process here but as a hint: "Why do you get out of bed in the morning?" won't be "to sell more widgets" or even "invent new services". What's your higher purpose? How do you serve others, maybe even make this world a slightly better place? Then we get into "how" - and no, that's still not about your product set.

That may sound irrelevant or "nice to have" but it's not: when you're buried in the daily grind, it can be easy to forget that purpose and lose your compass a bit, with potentially serious effects on your business - especially its marketing. So when you feel that wake-up call, make sure you make the most of it.

A workshop is an achievable way to pull back and remind yourself why you do what you do. A short injection of a few hours, with an outside perspective, is always worthwhile. Marketing-wise it's vital - a strong "why" and "how" will energise and focus your marketing like nothing else and avoid me-too work. Sometimes your "why" and "how" can be blatantly used almost word-for-word.

More often it will be a strong red thread, the emotional engine behind "articulating" your brand, as we say: bringing it to life and helping you stand out in a durable and authentic way.

If you and your leadership team do this with honesty and commitment, your "why" and "how" will also be a brilliant internal message to enthuse your organisation. Another great payoff can be the things you stop doing because of it.

High-stakes marketing decisions
This kind of thinking drives some brands to high-stakes marketing decisions as Nike opted for recently by making high-profile American footballer Colin Kaepernick the face of a 30th-anniversary Just Do It campaign. He had been kept off the field in 2017 and shunned by the Nike-sponsored NFL establishment since his 2016 decision to start kneeling in protest during the weekly playing of the national anthem (the New York Times claims Nike very nearly dropped him).

Nike's campaign has worked, with huge engagement from its important target group of young urban males, powered by its emotional impact and its strong fit with Just Do It's philosophy. It's a little hard to fully explain here, but as consumers we sure as hell know a purposeful brand when we see one.

Even office moves or landing that new client can be a jumping off point. I felt a small "wakeup moment" when put my cycling gloves on for the first time in months the other day.

Stay awake, and be clear on your "why" and "how". Let your prospects feel it.



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January 7 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
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