07 January 2010

A Brand Marketer's New Year Resolution

A new decade brings with it a blank canvas on which to inscribe the building-blocks of your future success. (You are going to be successful and ace that next performance appraisal, aren't you?)

In order to do so, you're going to need to spring-clean your mind and methods. ("Insanity", according to Albert Einstein, "is doing exactly the same things you did before, and expecting a different result.") Because the market is changing while you're reading this post. The goalposts have been moved. What served you well before won't necessarily do your bidding again.

That said, some fundamental principles remain unchanged. The trick is to preserve the best, while reinventing the rest.

An ex-colleague remarked last week that he was struggling to lay down a personal manifesto in 2010 for himself, as a leader and team manager. So in the spirit of the season, may I offer some thought-starters to crank up the brain-cells -- or provoke some dialogue:

1. Bring in a new breed. Not confirming types who will succumb to the awesome power of the existing culture.

2. Seize control of the schools. Put your money where your mouth is, take a deep breath, and invest in training the young (as well as the not-so-young who've missed out on training all these years). They are tomorrow's leaders. Don't mortgage your future just to meet your targets for the quarter.

3. Keep score. Inspect what you expect. What gets measured gets attention. People are smart. They're going to focus on the things that count. (Well, most of them, at least.)

4. Change the reward system. Re-examine who you hold up as heroes. Take special care to commend calculated and measured risk (not the kind that brought down our global financial systems). By that I mean, embed a 'safe-fail' culture. Encourage your team to 'fail-forward', pick themselves up fast, learn from their mistakes, and move on.

5. Crank up the communications. You probably belong, in these tumultous times, to a small, select group of talented but anxious and confused people. Be proactive, be transparent, be out there, accessible to your team.

6. Celebrate success. There's something attractive about the magnetism of momentum. Mark your successes, and use them as slingshots to propel your team onward.

7. Free the people. To win in the marketplace, you're going to need radicals, rebels, people who'll howl at the moon. How you're going to manage them, well, that's the subject of another post.

Once you build a team of brand champions with the right mindset, then you can build a champion brand.

So go on. Pull out that notepad or position that cursor. May your resolutions spark a revolution

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