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How Being Honest and Authentic

Perception can be a powerful thing. As entrepreneurs, sometimes we see ourselves as honest, while our employees see us as brutally honest. Sometimes we see ourselves as balanced and our peers see us as lazy. The hard truth is that the way we want to be seen is often incongruent with how we’re actually seen. It’s the same with companies. Sometimes we have an internal understanding of who we are that doesn’t match how our customers see us. It all comes down to branding.

A year ago, my team and I had a day-long discussion about our branding, in which we were upfront and honest about what our company is and is not. For twelve hours, we discussed our values, strengths and passions, while highlighting the unique qualities that separate our brand from others. It was a cathartic and much-needed session that allowed us to take a hard look at our customer service, our offerings and, most importantly, our identity within our industry. Over the years, I’ve learned that these exercises are integral to achieving continued business success because understanding, communicating, re-evaluating and maintaining your company’s brand is an active process.

The first step in our branding session was to have a clear vision of who we are and who we want to become. To determine our own brand, we spent a big chunk of time distilling and clarifying our purpose: Why are we in business and what are we trying to accomplish? We gathered feedback and wrote down where we want to be in one, five and 10 years, and then we asked ourselves how we would get there and how we want our brand to be perceived. We concluded this part of the session by hashing out and determining our company’s philosophy on everything from selling to marketing. We realized that in order to maintain our success, we must have a transparent and measurable brand.

While highlighting the unique qualities that separate our brand from others. It was a cathartic and much-needed session that allowed us to take a hard look at our customer service, our offerings and, most importantly, our identity within our industry. Over the years, I’ve learned that these exercises are integral to achieving continued business success because understanding, communicating, re-evaluating and maintaining your company’s brand is an active process.

It’s the same with companies. Sometimes we have an internal understanding of who we are that doesn’t match how our customers see us. It all comes down to branding.

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