employees leaving

Albert Einstein famously said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first fifty-five minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

Who are we to argue with Einstein?

Typically, when a company decides to rebrand, leadership will often focus on redefining or recharacterizing its key attributes associated with product quality, service delivery, and beating the competition. Typical discussions include questions, such as:

  • How can we become more innovative and disrupt the industry?
  • How can we improve product quality and service delivery to reposition the competition?
  • In what ways can we become leaders?
  • How can we better meet the needs of our customers?
  • How are we better than our competitors?
  • How can we be the number-one choice in our industry?

Although these are all essential questions that will yield valuable insights into a rebranding effort, such questions force people into compartmentalized thinking. None of them on their own – or even collectively – will answer this broader, much more important question that will lead to building a brand of excellence:

“If I were to build a company that would put mine out of business, how would I do it?”

Asking this question will naturally place you in the mindset needed to build the strongest possible brand for your company. It will motivate you to tediously examine every component of your business from the ground up, including your strategic plan, business plan, marketing strategy, and the essence of your brand. It will force you to question everything you’re doing and every decision you’ve made that got you to where you are today.

In retrospect, what have you learned? What would you have done differently, and why? If you were consulting you (which is essentialy what you’re doing), what would be your greatest pieces of advice? What would be the top three items on your to-do list if you were brought into your company as a turnaround CEO?

Also, notice how the  question, “If I were to build a company that would put mine out of business, how would I do it?” has an inward focus on the soul of your company versus an outward focus on how your company can beat your competitors.

There are several reasons for this…

FIRST: An outward focus on your competitors is non-productive and a waste of energy. It is much more productive to compare yourself and your company to who and what you were yesterday than to what another company is today.

In other words, building a brand of excellence can only be done by focusing on your own company – not worrying about a competing company of which you have zero control. Yes, you certainly need to know who your competitors are – their strengths, weaknesses, offerings and brand position- to identify opportunities for your brand and to understand why customers buy from them. However, building a brand to exploit a competitor’s weakness may be achievable, but not sustainable.

SECOND: You will always have competitors – some stronger and larger, and some smaller and weaker than you. At Seroka Industrial Branding, we have a client with $112 million in sales competing with three companies, each boasting more than $1 billion in annual sales. Our client can barely keep up with customer orders because they have such an impressive reputation and following in their industry. The reason? Their brand’s reputation was built on a solid foundation of exceptional performance and delivery instead of a multi-million dollar marketing spend. Which position would you rather be in?

THIRD: It’s a shallow and weak strategy. Competition is both healthy and good. Competitors push companies to perform at their best: competition inspires innovation, keeps companies ethical, and provides customers with options. Take the high road with your brand by welcoming competition and not fighting it.

Most importantly, building a brand of excellence will also require an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in all facets of your organization, and you’ll need to create and foster a strong culture to drive it forward.

If you’re interested in moving from a good or a very good brand to one that is excellent, complete the form below to contact us.