Building a Brand with a False Sense of Self Never Ends Well

It has always fascinated me how some people can have a severely skewed view of how the rest of world sees them and be totally oblivious to it.

You know the types. The scrawny guy who looks in the mirror and sees a chiseled Adonis staring back. The micromanaging boss who believes his minions crave his constant meddling. The aging Lothario who doesn’t realize he looks like a buffoon chasing down women half his age. And on and on it goes.

Why is that? Are they surrounded by lackeys who only tell them what they want to hear? Disillusioned by circumstances beyond their control that color their own perceptions? Desperate to hang on to a self-image whose ship has long since sailed? Yeah, probably all of that and more.

Well, the same thing happens to businesses looking to develop a new brand or migrate an existing one, and often for the same reasons. And as with people, the results aren’t pretty.

Too often, business jump into the brand development process relying solely on their own internal perceptions of who they are. Not a good idea.

These companies want to skip research and strategy and jump right to execution—developing a name, designing a logo, composing a tagline, revamping a website.

It never ends well.

You need to take the time up front to clearly understand what it is you stand for, what makes you unique and different, and what will continue to be true about you as you launch new products and enter new markets. Make assumptions. Think big. Be clear. Be succinct. Partner with someone who’s done this before.

Then take the time to find out whether what you want to say about yourself really matters to your customers. Do they get it? Do they care about it? Does it motivate them? Do they think it could realistically apply to you? If not, go back to the beginning and try again.

And if you’re not sure how to do it, find someone who can help.

This is too important to get it wrong.

Tom McCall
About the author: 

 Tom McCall is Vice President/General Manager of the Critical Care Unit at ICU Medical, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of medical devices and systems for infusion therapy, oncology, and critical care applications. Mr. McCall’s prior executive positions include as Chief Marketing Officer for ICU Medical – and as a Vice President for both Masimo Corp. and Welch Allyn, Inc.  Follow him on Twitter.