In philosophy, your essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make you who you fundamentally are. In Latin, “essence” roughly translates to, “the what it is.”
Your essence is built on your belief system, your values, your “higher calling.”
You can consider your essence to be your soul, your DNA, your “spark.”
In our fast paced, social media-filled, 24-hour news cycle world, too often we defer to our “labels” to define us. We are “Republican,” “Liberal,” “Catholic,” “A family-man,” “a runner,” “a marketer.” But your labels are not your essence.
I encourage each of you to set aside a few minutes each day. Turn off the TV. Step away from your computer. Walk away from your phone. Hit the imaginary pause button on your family and focus on YOU. Consider who you are. What is the fundamental attribute that makes you, well … you? I recently realized that I, personally, needed to take that journey and I’m thankful that I have … though the finish line and the answer are still off in the distance, like the emerald glow of Oz.
Now think about your company and your brand.
Your brand, too, has an essence. Your business has a fundamental attribute that defines it. Your soul. Your spark.
I’m currently in the process of defining two different institution’s brands. One community bank and one credit union.
While considering a name change, designing a new logo and crafting a new tag line are fun … the most vital part of any branding project is the uncovering of your essence.
- Talk to your staff, candidly … no judgments. Identify what they believe you are about. Your values. Your competitive differentiation. Your strengths and weaknesses. What is your company’s personality? Ask them what your customers would say. What are they most proud of concerning what they do at work? What keeps them coming back?
- Talk to your customers. Why did they choose you? What do they love about you? Why do they need you? What is the first word that comes to mind when they think of you?
- Take what you’ve learned and list your most defining values.
- If your company was a person, tell me about it. What do they care about. What drives them?
When you understand your essence, you understand who you are. You can reevaluate your daily actions and measure. Are you playing a role or are you being true to yourself?
Both personally and professionally, this is crucial.
When you can better define who your company is, then you can better train to it … and hire to it … and be consistent with who you are for your team and for your customers.
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