Finding Your Focus

Something Worth Thinking About

When you can simply and clearly define your difference, you can empower your organization to deliver that difference and you can condition your customers to prefer that difference. It’s more than just making them think, it’s giving them something worth thinking about. Discover how. -more-

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Step 1: Discovery

Recognizing where you are today

Making a difference is about making a change. But before you can make the change you want, you have to know which direction to go. Where are you headed? Where are you now? What stands between you and that goal? And whom do you need to influence to get things moving?

Recognizing Your Position Image

This may all seem like second nature. Like something you do instinctively in your head. But the reason it's so important is that when it involves an organization, it now also involves what's going on in other peoples' heads.

The challenge is that everyone looking at a situation sees it from a little bit different perspective. So it helps to reach a consensus of thought before you attempt to start a coordination of effort.

It also helps to write your thinking down so key ideas are open to review and input by those involved. Then once adopted, those ideas can become a unifying reference to integrate everyone's plans and actions.

This is the essence of the first step of my difference-making process.

Discovery is about reaching consensus on your brand's strengths, weaknesses, benefits, challenges, strategies, etc. It's fact gathering about the marketplace where your brand must be communicated. It's a mechanism for recognizing important issues and opportunities.

Finally, there are degrees of discovery just like there are degrees of difference you want to achieve. The greater the change, the more people involved and/or the higher the investment required, the greater the need for deeper, more comprehensive discovery.

In my experience, discovery most often involves either of these two options:

Brand Interview

This is a focused discussion designed to explore and document expectations, background and detail for the completion of individual brand communication projects or limited-scope campaigns.

Brand Survey

This is a half-day work session designed to gather market and brand input from your key personnel with sales, marketing and customer service duties in order to develop content consensus for a formal brand difference description document used to guide the development and delivery of broader brand initiatives.

The most comprehensive communications programs require the most comprehensive discover process:

Brand Study

This is a thorough internal and external research study of the market conditions and audience perceptions that influence the strategies of the primary competing brands to guide the creation and execution of full-scale brand communication programs.

The scope, timing and investment involved in each assignment determine the level of discovery applied, but the quality of the final results directly depend on the quality of effort exercised here.