Finding fossils in a rapidly changing economy
Palaeontology involves the scientific study of life on earth as based on fossils that can help examine the records, to understand the evolution of life, and how a form was shaped over time. Similarly, the discovery process of ‘knowing you’ as a brand gets initiated by identifying what may be called as fossils — the answers. These may not be visibly embedded in the pieces of fossiliferous rocks, but uncovering them could help get to the core of the brand roots. This is only the beginning of a long process of extracting the desired insights and illuminating the possibility of seeing things differently.
When you think about it, fossil records are like a series of frozen moments that could string together to create an ongoing reality that the present needs to work through. But how we know where to excavate fossil beds — the insightful rocks?
Challenging the assumptions
It would be hard to get lucky by just digging through it randomly. To get your hands on to the insightful rocks, the discovery team would need well-structured and carefully-formulated questions. These would engage everyone in a team with thought-provoking conversations, punched with few bold questions in between — that would challenge the assumptions.
Sometimes the earlier defined purpose and vision are either buried deep or have been so altered that the stories they would tell have been erased. Over the period, it is likely that the predefined brand image and perceptions are been viewed with continued assumptions made by people, who have and may not have used a product or service. It is critical to get under the skin of the core brand essence, try to understand the data accumulated and turn them into useful data insights, allowing fresh and honest perspectives.
Connecting boundless possibilities
The process of extracting insights would involve boundless discussion and dialogues among the brand owners, evangelist, manager, practitioner, consultant, etc. At some point the select user groups can help bring their perspectives of understanding and experience. The objective of this initial interaction is to help find real-world concerns and bring further clarity, differentiating the intended versus the perceived reflection of the brand. Once it is clearly articulated and put forward in front of the internal team, it would allow them to participate more effectively in sketching out different routes; identifying and exploring new ways of addressing the problem.
A lot of times, we as users get restricted by their own thinking, driven by market demands or trends. It is a known trap for the reasons also known to us. Market-driven initiatives are likely to restrict the brands to follow an incremental change, and most of the time end up placing the brand in a long queue of market followers.
Slower the adoption to change, longer the queue.
In today’s emerging experience economy, the demand for radical thinkers and doers involve an innovative approach to new opportunities. Being in the state of quadrant where the initiatives are led by design thinking and enabled by emerging technology, can allow us to see the boundless possibilities of creating a radical change in how we can bring new meanings and functions.
The radical change can be applied to many schemes of things, from new initiatives to revitalisation of an existing practice. It can bring ‘new focus’, ‘new energy’ and ‘new connect’, with having a clear understanding of who we are and where we are headed.
A blank sheet of paper with unlimited options and possibilities are as terrifying as being lost in a crowded mess. The clear picture of organisation’s “why” can bring greater clarity of how the brand is defined and positioned in a competitive new economy. Businesses today require simplifying and adding a focus on brand value creation.
We’re not talking about the passion-driven energy that may fade over time. Redefining the brand’s purpose, value and mission, can inspire a new environment of collaboration and aligning people together. The resulting flow of new energy can inevitably be found in the brand culture and the subsequent brand engagements.
Looking beyond the defined framework of the industry and businesses that functions within it, can throw open multiple ways of connecting the same content with different contexts. This can generate new meanings and new functions, allowing the relationship between brand and consumer to build a stronger connection.
At the end of this exhaustive exercise of ‘finding fossils’, the collective insights gathered during the process would help distill brand objectives and spread out a broader blueprint of where and how best to invest further in elevating the brand value.
Your brand fossils are the answers for tomorrow. Finding them will help ‘know you’ better — ‘who we are’ and ‘why we exist’.