Chris Woodhams, Partner / Creative Director, Cafeteria
Bdaily Business News

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What next? Tackle difficult decisions with your brand

How do we know that we’re making the right decisions? Instinct, experience, data? They all have value, but more often than not that’s an individual’s perspective. You can’t assume everyone in your team shares those same insights. Those strained conversations are tiring. The answers, more often than not, are hidden in your brand.

The past year will have left many feeling directionless, drained and hoping that we’re making the right choices. That challenge – to always have an answer – is often the hardest question asked of business leaders. Questions get harder still as you try to empower others who are struggling to find the right direction.

Those frustrations usually present themselves in meetings about tangible, yet seemingly abstract challenges. Such as revamping a company’s website. You can all agree on the problems, but nobody can offer an answer. What do you measure the problems against? Daily hits. Google analytics? A gut feeling?

Are gut feelings easy to share with the team?

You should look no further than your brand. I am of course talking about brand in its fullest sense, not just the visual. Brand as a roadmap. A set of words and ideas that help you say — yes or no, with confidence. Ideas that guide your business. Ideas that bring teams together. That enable you to measure your choices. Ideas that help you make decisions.

As a brand-led designer, there is genuine satisfaction in seeing brand ‘click’ with a client. Becoming something more fundamental, tangible and engaging. We can confidently attest to this with direct feedback.

Brand is then frequently pushed outwards first. A marketing need. Building a website or refreshing a visual identity. I would urge you not to ignore the internal benefits. Brand can unify people at all levels of the business. It allows for a clarity of purpose, and it helps everyone make decisions. More importantly it helps people understand the context of those decisions.

How does that work? Its power lies in creating a collective understanding. Brand can appear complicated, mysterious, fatuous even. It can be liberating, it can be a tremendous guide, an aide memoir, a decision (enabling) tool. The only difficulty, if we’re honest, is embracing it in the first place. I’m a business owner and I need my brand to drive my business.

If I can steal (and paraphrase) a few simple rules from the great Wally Olins:

  • Your business is your brand, and vice versa.
  • Organise your business around your brand.
  • Train your people to live the brand.
  • Behave the way you talk.
  • Always remember your staff are the brand.
  • Be consistent and coherent.
  • Treat customers/clients/audiences with respect.
  • Lead by example.

When trying to steer a business out of the year we’ve had. You could do no worse than embrace those simple rules, and take an honest look at your brand. Its power to re-energise a business, empower people and measure your output. Oh yeah, and help you make those difficult decisions of course.

Talk to Chris about your brand – chris@thecafeteria.co.uk – or visit www.thecafeteria.co.uk and get a flavour of their work.

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