Our first office was next to a coffee shop, which provided some convenient caffeine, as well as some inconvenient traffic. Within hours of opening on our first day, a light bulb salesman stopped by to offer an opportunity to invest in quality bulbs that would shine brighter, last longer, maybe improve our emotional health, and would certainly extend our life expectancy.
We have all been in conversations where glowing words are spoken in an effort to swoon us away from reason — we are all human. And we like things that are new and shiny, can improve our emotional health, and promise to make us look better, live longer, and rule over others. Even if they are only glamour-ish messages.
All too often, we find that organizations are willing to be consistent, on-target, and disciplined to the strategy with which they were first born. But eventually, two different voices begin to emerge, both of which distract these companies from realizing success.
One is the voice of fear.
When adversity rises for whatever reason — production snags, turnover, vendor relationships — a brand’s original commitments become tested. The brands who survive these challenges are those who can navigate this hardship by staying true to who they are. Those who panic or choose to change direction will struggle to find long-term success.
The second voice is selling whatever is new, whatever is glamour-ish.
The premise of this second voice is a simple pitch for change, for any change. It calls for the kind of change that merely removes one set of challenges in favor of another. Change, any change, can feel like it has solved the challenges in front of us, but they only begin a treadmill of more changes that will stunt long-term success.
Building a compelling brand requires stamina, and restraint, and staying true to who you are in the midst of difficult circumstances. It begs for leadership that will encounter challenging situations and hold firm to the foundation already in place. It is these firm brands who will ultimately persevere and thrive on the other side of that adversity.
So, we challenge you to stay true to who you are. To hold firm. To not be swooned. And to be Drawn to authenticity.