How does your business shift in a downturn? Can the value you provide customers act as either a guidepost or a guardrail depending on the context?
I recently went through an exercise with a brand architect to revisit the brand strategy for my company.
It was an illuminating exercise because we got to the root of my company vision. Sometimes, you can have trouble doing yourself because you are too close to it. So, using an outside consultant can help.
The exercise started with what I said about my company. She mirrored it back to me focused, filtered and in stronger language. Resulting in a new words for my company vision.
I help clients use digital transformation to enable them to respond quicker to market uncertainty, like the pandemic and the economy. For the greater good. Because successful businesses create jobs, impact the economy, and help society overall.
This week, on a peer network call, I shared this vision with a different Marketing strategy consultant. Adding that I changed my messaging to talk about building resilient businesses.
She commented that it’s fine to talk about resilience now in a downturn. But what happens in a few years when things turn back to growth. Will my brand purpose still be valid?
Possibly a devil’s advocate opinion, yet it got me thinking.
I remembered what one of my heroes, Whitney Johnson, did at the start of the pandemic.
In her work she applies lessons from innovation to individual career development. And has a tag line of “grow your people, grow your company”.
Before the pandemic Whitney referred to the points on her s-curve of learning as guideposts. Things that guide you on a growth path.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Whitney changed to speak of these points as guardrails. Things that protect you in bad times.
But the s-curve remained the same.
It got me thinking. To me businesses enabled to respond quickly to uncertainty are both resilient in a downturn and thrive in an upturn.
Maybe my core framework doesn’t shift. Guideposts become protective guardrails in a downturn. Guardrails become growth guideposts in an upturn. It all depends on the context.
How does this apply to what you do?
With the economy shifting to a downturn what needs to change in your business? What remains foundational to the value you provide customers?