Brand vs. brand–On Befriending Uncertainty
You can either resist change, or, as organizational change guru John Kotter says, exercise “change leadership.” To be a change leader is not to manage and control the responses of your stakeholders. Rather, you embrace their responses and ride the wave of change from within your company out into your environment, with the goal of staying true to your Brand while paying attention to your external stakeholders.
Brand is, simply, the “True Self” of your firm while
brand is the public perception.
Once you’ve joined the social media landscape, you no longer own your brand. Period. The first online review of your company changes your brand, for better or for worse. Public opinion is swirling around your firm so that their perceptions shape reality. Uncertainty reigns. Or does it?
Worse yet, change is not only constant—it’s accelerating. You can choose to bend, not break. You can choose to embrace change and accelerating uncertainty. When you’re clear on your Brand, you know when to hold ‘em and you know when to fold ‘em, like a good Gambler.
Last week my fellow panelist Jonathan Senger said that the number one barrier to becoming an E2 change-resilient organization is the 52% of your employees that resist change. Similarly, you can bet once your customers have a negative perception, they, too will be hard to change.
So how can you manage the inevitable uncertainty of this social media sphere?
Be authentic: you always own your Brand—that core of your vision, mission and internal culture. When you have clarity about your Brand, you can choose to be a change leader and operate out of your core, your Brand, to evolve dynamically and authentically through interaction with your prospects, clients and raving fans. As Sheldon of “The Big Bang Theory” reminds us, everyone needs a core:
When you’re true to your core, your Brand will allow you to own what I call your neighborhood: the “place” where your best customers are and their preferred methods of contact. You will have a clearly calendared strategic marketing plan to stay connected and to move them from prospects to clients to raving fans. Your willingness to change results in this self-propelled virtuous cycle of positive feedback.
- Setting SMART goals is good—setting SMARTER goals will accelerate your agility to apply the ideas from today’s blog.
- Take a reading on your current market and consider what new, organic input you’re getting from multiple real-time sources (monitoring Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn channels). Track all these sources via an RSS feed. Don’t forget to track your competitors, too!
- Be SMARTER. Schedule time to Evaluate and Realign your goals based on input from your key internal and external stakeholders. Ask yourself: How can I take advantage of these changes and new uncertainties? How can I align them with my Brand?