The straw business thinks in the immediate, and only in terms of the transactional and incremental. He/she most commonly asks, “Which marketing, sales and business development tactic should we be employing right this minute?” Chances of ever owning any meaningful marketplace position or identity are blowin’ in the wind.
The sticks business may exhibit more of a planning and building mindset, but “brand” is defined in terms of “who we are” and vanity exercises instead of the more mission-critical “what are our points of customer overlap.” The company enjoys a solid track record, boasts an enviable reputation among those who know it first-hand and entertains an optimistic vision for the future. It often finds itself under-noticed and relatively indistinguishable in the marketplace because its core messages don’t captivate, resonate or differentiate. It certainly possesses both values and a story, but nobody seems to have the time to take them out, dust them off and translate them into a rapt, cohesive, target-centric narrative. In a sticks environment, the founder-entrepreneur or CEO’s vision and the company’s Unique Value Proposition have yet to be articulated in a way that resonates both internally and externally and so that it’s strong enough to withstand the huffing and puffing of tomorrow. Often, the company has become complacent, a victim of its own operations successes… but this alone won’t grow market share.
If the creation of customers doesn’t sit at your company’s core, I’d like to join you in asking the company’s leaders: what does?
The brick-solid business-grower, often a marketing performer or the founding entrepreneur him or herself, takes the time to ask the big, foundational questions and reverse-engineer both present and future marketplace success: why do we exist (see the Simon Sinek TedTalk, if you haven’t already), does our differentiation exist at a point of target relevance, what opportunities and future problems has drinking our own Kool-Aid® obscured from view, have we truly built Sales and our Sales Truths into the organization’s DNA, how do we better connect with the people that matter most to our sustainable success?
Stay tuned for Part Two!