I have always respected Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. From reading about his successes, I learned one of the more important lessons in leadership and success is to know who you are and what you stand for, as a person and as an organization.
Culture and identity are just as critical for small businesses and non-profits as they are for big corporate giants like GE. There are few things that Jack Welch did right that I have tried to adopted and to consider in my own life, and that I want to know when meeting a new potential client. If you own or run a business or an organization, understanding these things about yourself and your organization can help make your role in marketing, communications and brand identity more effective.
1.) Define your culture and/or mission in a way that everyone in your organization can relate to.
In order for us to help define and portray a client to the public appropriately, we first meet with the client to understand their goals and differentiators. Sometimes leaders are so busy with their day-to-day tasks that they do not know what they want to communicate to their audience(s). Often times key people in an organization have different ideas of the organization’s goals and messages. This can be problematic. We aim to help you better define your messages and identity, and not to just help you communicate better with you customers and/or constituents, but to clarify your own messages for yourself and for the people that you work within your organization.
2.) Have respect for the individual.
Think of the famous Mastercard 'Priceless' marketing campaign. The influence of one individual can be priceless. Listen to your employees, partners and clients/constituents. They can help you solidify and focus your mission. They can help define and lead organizational change from the bottom up, when empowered by you to do so.
Part of our process is to start out with a Creative Survey that walks our clients through some initial identity questions. This might seem like a daunting or useless task to some, but our clients have told us that they have gotten a lot of benefit from this exercise beyond it helping us build them their new web presence or brand. Defining and reflecting on who you are and what you want to accomplish as an organization will guide you whether you are working on internal processes reengineering or public-facing marketing efforts.