We often hear people talk about the importance of self-awareness for individuals.
Self-awareness is all about having a clear perception of your own personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.
Self-awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment. Having self-awareness creates the opportunity for people to make changes in behaviour and beliefs.
And maybe the same rules apply to brands.
The difference between successful and unsuccessful brands often comes down to self-awareness. Successful brands are run by organisations that have a clear perception of their brands’ personalities.
Just like individuals, the brands that struggle are often those that lack self-awareness and confuse the reality of what their brands stand for with wishful thinking about what they would like their brands to stand for.
The answer is to work harder on self-awareness.
Everyone in the organisation needs to get to know the brand intimately. Exploring its strengths but more importantly being realistic about its weaknesses, understanding how the brand behaves, what others think of it, how it comes across in everyday situations, how it responds under pressure or when criticised. What does it believe in, what is it prepared to stand up for? Can it be trusted, all the time or only in certain situations?
Getting to know your brands is as hard as getting to know yourself.
It requires hard work and honest appraisal. Brand narcissism, self-aggrandisement or just plain old kidding-yourself is alive and well in brand management as well as in the general human population.
And brand self-awareness is not just about customer research and circulating a brand book. It needs to involve everyone in the organisation and be embedded in the culture.
Brand immersion, culture workshops, brand discovery training, employee satisfaction, well-being and attitudinal surveys, spending time with customers and influencers, monitoring conversations about your brand in social media and mainstream media as well as more traditional qualitative and quantitative research all have a role to play.
Achieving better brand self-awareness creates the opportunity to make positive change in brand behaviour and belief and in the fast-changing world we live in, the ability to change is fast becoming an essential survival technique for all businesses and brands.