Our world is constantly changing. And where “work” used to be just an obligation to make money, today it is evolving into something much larger than that. We no longer want to work “to work”. We want to work on – and towards – something bigger. We want to fill our eight hours a day with “something that matters. We want to make an impact with our work. We want to create something, get something. And that is only possible within a company that strives for a clearly defined higher goal. A clear company identity structure is part of this development, one that can be recognized by both employers and employees. Read on and the importance of corporate identity will become clear. And is your company an avocado or a Harley Davidson?
The issue is ….
If customers no longer know what a company stands for, there is a good chance that ultimately employees will lose their jobs there. Many companies, services and products remind me of avocados. I think the avocado is a wonderful product, it has a recognizable color, a biodegradable packaging that can also take a beating and also automatically shows the age of the content. The shape is simply unique, everyone knows it and the avocado itself has an enormous amount of nutrients that are important to humans. In short, it is a top product. As a company, you could wish you could invent something like that. Or not?
The only problem is that there are so many avocados. And it seems to me that there seemed to be no difference between the one and the other avocado and yes, if I see no difference as a consumer, then I will only pay attention to one thing, and that is the price.
Can you see the difference?
In fact, banks, insurance companies and a whole host of other things are just like avocados: wonderful products and services, but as a customer I no longer see the difference. Do you know the difference between Deutsche Bank and all other banks? Do you notice a distinction between (health) insurers? If we see no differences, we will pay attention to the price, despite the nice new app with which you can report damage faster or the internet link with which you can now get a mortgage within a day. That ensures a very small competitive edge, but you really won’t distinguish a company with that. Such small innovations quickly become normal conditions to be a market player at all.
Most banks behave like a school of fish that make exactly the same movements. Maybe this is due to cartel arrangements?
I suspect that in the near future there will be many more layoffs at the banks. The emphasis is on working more efficiently with fewer people and not on new ways of working. Where are those radical steps, actions or initiatives that wake up customers and say: ‘Wow! Only Deutsche Bank can do that?
Ask the right questions!
As an employee, it is becoming increasingly important that you ask the right questions. Especially for job interviews.
Strategy is based on choices. Ask what important choices the company has made in the past year. Are those actually (disguised) cuts? Have they chosen a director from another branch or sector? Why? Often the company expects new ideas or a new approach from such a newcomer. So there is really something going on.
Has foreign capital flowed into the organization? Because that can mean that management suddenly gets much less freedom, and that can be a very bad sign. The reasoning often is that ‘we are going to expand’. Borrowing costs money, is stated in many advertisements, and expanding is too often a step towards a new branch of sport that is completely out of the ordinary.
Has there been a merger? Well in fact here are no mergers. A merger is a euphemism for a power takeover. Who was the strongest party? Why? Suppose that this company would cease to exist tomorrow, what would the customers have to miss that they could not get anywhere else?
What about your own company?
I fear that the answer is mainly technical in nature and can only be given by the employees themselves. What about your current or future employer? Is there a crucial concept that the company has redefined? Internet has redefined shopping, stores like Amazon are busy redefining our shopping for almost anything. Crowdfunding is in the process of redefining bank loans.
What is the proof that your (future) employer is indeed that expert in the field of …? Who are ‘our’ customers? What do we really do differently? The answer to these questions show whether it is ‘avocados’ or a unique product. Do customers understand this answer? What does that show? Just ask about the secret of their success. And because communication consists of 55% non-verbal, 38% voice, accent and intonation and only a meager 7% the meaning of words, it is important to pay attention to the way in which your management or the HR officer answers.
Is there passion within the company?
Many employers have generic mission and vision statements. Somebody once used a mission and vision statement from a completely different company in a session with a management team and only much later did the finance manager discover that they were not using the right document. Terms such as ‘being close to the customer’ and ‘customer center’ are dead cliches and a sign of routine and passivity.
However, there are companies like Harley Davidson that are so popular that people get that company name tattooed on their arms. What should your company do to ensure that your customers get your company name tattooed on their arms? That is the key question of strategy. The customers, the employees and basically everyone has passion because they know exactly what the company stands for.
The best thing any company can do is ensure that their product name becomes the brand name like for example for Heinz ketchup or Luxaflex for sun protection in front of windows.
Tell us your experiences
Did you ever think about your company this way? And if you did, what conclusions can you draw? Would your company be in jeopardy because it lost its own identity or maybe never had it? You can fill in below comment boxes with your experiences.
When I heard and read about this subject I really could not believe my ears, in that such a thing would still be possible. Any company with a self respecting marketing department will automatically have a unique identity, even in a very competitive environment. Evidently, not all companies operate a good marketing system.
A strong corporate identity is the core, the DNA and that golden edge of your organization. Enchant customers and employees – and grow like never before!
If customers no longer know what a company stands for, there is a good chance that employees will change or lose their jobs there. If only the management still knows what the company stands for, then it is high time to take a look around and explore other companies. The above questions can help you on your way.
If you would discover that your firm has no identity, then take immediate action. You should have a fall back option anyway! Here is my recommendation.
Your escape route
Ensure that you have another option, which you can start working on during your present job. My suggestion is to do what many already did and make use of the immense possibilities of the internet and make money with it. Anybody can do it with the right support! And scam free.
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