Yet as more people are added to any group, something happens. To quote one of the founders of Pixar Animation, there’s “an inexorable drift toward inflexibility.”
This isn’t just a problem for big multinationals. Small charities and start–ups easily become engrossed in their own sector or idea. Before long, Nike’s tag line trumps Apple’s – people no longer Think Different. They Just Do It.
Conversations get lazier. Assumptions aren’t challenged. And opportunities are missed.
Almost always, this begins to shape the way the organisation projects its brand.
How to stop the drift to inflexible thinking?
When it comes to your brand, a good place to start is by identifying what makes you relevant to the audience and customers you’re trying to reach. If your organisation became extinct, what would your audience miss?
Our advice here is to forget about the USPs – because USPs are rarely unique. Instead, try to unearth what is really distinctive about who you are and what you do. Consider how this relates to your history, your sector, and your ambitions.
This point of difference might be an attribute your organisation takes for granted. It could be a strength you’ve overlooked, or even an association you’ve previously seen as a weakness.
For example, one of our clients was reluctant to talk about being a family–owned business. But our research showed that their customers saw this as a great strength, reinforcing the client’s desired positioning, and helping to set them apart in their market.
Don’t go it alone
Doing this thinking well, and expressing it clearly, is tough.
Doing it solely with people from within one organisation is like trying to cut your own hair – no matter how talented you are, or how good you are with a mirror, you’ll never be best placed to reach the back of your head.
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.”