Discover more from And It's Up to You! by Antoine Martin
Pssss! Your culture sucks and you aren't realizing it!
It happens over coffee. A team talks about a brand they are quite disappointed with. And then, all of a sudden, culture, community perception and image all get thrown under the bus. Kaboom!
“Look, honestly, considering how poor the internal culture is, I wonder if they even care about their community at all! I can’t even name their values!”. I heard this during a client workshop earlier today, and it made me think about something essential.
Perception. And those massive blind spots we have when it comes to how people perceive what we work hard to build.
So, how come so many businesses praise themselves for being so unique, so inspiring, and so community-focused, without even realizing that their clients aren't perceiving anything of the culture and values they are trying to develop, push, nurture, and engage people with?
Worse! How come those companies (and their leaders) are so absorbed (note that I didn't say narrow-minded, blind, or careless, I'm being gentle) that they can't see how people react, nor hear what they say?
That's too bad, really, but it tells me one thing.
Your brand might be one of your most precious assets and you might feel like it’s in good hands (not necessarily yours). But, in reality, perception lies in a conveniently hidden blind spot unless you actively monitor it.
It's one of your most precious assets because it defines the perception people have of what you do.
And it's vital to your business because it is intimately associated with the stories people tell about you - publicly or in private.
Still, as it turns out, the value(s) you think you are nurturing might not be the value(s) people feel like you are delivering and/or living by.
But wait, there’s more.
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Your brand is in a blind spot, and so is your community.
That's a real shame, though.
The brand my clients were talking about is probably doing a lot of work to be seen with a positive eye.
Still, the perception down the client relationship ladder is bad because (some part of) the community thinks (feels!) that the brand doesn't give a damn about what they expect and say when they provide feedback.
But hey, what's your community worth if brand and value(s) perception is taking a hit and you don't do anything about it?
Let's play a little game! Replace the word “community” with “market” or “business” and read that sentence again.
Out loud, please.
Hmmm. Not that nice, is it?
Now try and apply that discussion to your own business (or personal) brand.
What does that tell you? How inspiring is the brand? Do you like your conclusion?
How can you validate your conclusion? Without assessing (asking!) what people think, I mean? Think big here! What are the means at your disposal to assess where you're at?
Improving takes realization and a decision to change.
Here's a simple truth.
We all have blind spots. And that's okay.
What's not okay, however, is to ignore those blind spots once you know they exist, and to pretend everything is great when you really have no clue.
The key is to realize something is wrong and could be done differently.
Unless of course that topic isn't relevant to your business, in which case there's nothing much I can add.
You get what you tolerate, that's Up to You!
Bonus #1: There’s a pretty fun carousel in .pdf format to download!
Bonus #2: 7 easy ideas to leverage to try and un-suck your brand!
Want to go one step further? Here's a seven-step checklist you can work with to start making a difference right now. And feel free to shout if you need a hand, by the way.
Here we go
List the four key values you think your brand is living by and nurturing on a daily basis. Start with 8-10, then narrow down to 4 max! Hint: things like honesty and reliability are a given, don't be boring.
Go deeper. How does each of these values translate into real-world, tangible, palpable, measurable, and human terms? Write down a clear and actionable definition for each of your important values. How is that making sense?
Ask your team to explain how they understand those values. How do they implement those values in their daily work? Practically, I mean. For instance, if 'Caring' is one of your key concepts, does your staff greet each visitor personally? Do they take comments with a smile and make people feel like they are being listened to and heard? Are they available to help and find solutions instead of saying ‘no’?
Ask your client if they see that happening for real. How inspired are they by your brand and community feeling? Ask them! Not just the happy ones. The silent ones, the critical ones. What perception do they have of your culture and community work?
Identify the gap between plan and reality. How’s it looking? What goals could you set if you wanted to make a difference? Organize a workshop and involve the team into this, you’ll be surprised to see the results!
Bridge the gap.
Makes sense? You’re awesome.
One point remains though! When do you start?