It seems like the Opening Ceremony was only yesterday…
As I watched the celebrations, it struck me what a gargantuan task Danny Boyle had been faced with. How do you sum up Britain’s culture, politics, academia, geography and people – everything that we have achieved and endured for over the past few thousand years? How do you tell the entire world, some of whom probably know very little about us as a nation, who we are and where we’ve been?
I can’t be the only one who was feeling a little skeptical about the whole thing. The memory of the sensational Beijing ceremonies were still fresh in my mind and after the cringe-inducing London bus handover segment (take your hands out of your pockets Boris!), I’ll confess, I was concerned. But, as the show progressed, I felt something I hadn’t expected to feel – pride. Proud of our country and of what we can do.
To my eye, Boyle had approached the task in the same way a designer would approach a branding exercise. By looking at what makes us great as a nation; our national health service, our rich musical and literary history, our ingenuity and, perhaps most importantly, our sense of humour (HRH ‘jumping’ out of a helicopter – genius!), he created a spectacle that was not only entertaining but also introduced us to the world.
He created a brand for Britain.
It’s this list of strengths that sits at the heart of any great brand – whether it’s a country or a business. These core values should be at the centre of everything you do – how your identity looks, the language you use, the way you interact with your customers and clients.
If you’ve never done it before, sitting down and writing this list of core values is a really worthwhile exercise. Take a pen and paper and spend 15 minutes writing down everything that makes you and your business great. Do you use only the best ingredients? Do you offer something nobody else does? If so, write it on the list! Once you’ve done this, take a look over everything you’ve written and pick out the three things that are absolutely crucial, the three things that hold everything else together. These are your core values.
Now, and this is the most important part, compare these core values against your current branding, your website, your business cards. Do your values shine through in everything your potential customers see? If so, fantastic! Keep doing what you’re doing! If not, perhaps it’s time to have a rethink and a refresh. Think of how your business could grow if the world understood what you offer like you do.
I read recently that ‘most countries are blind to their own strengths’ and I’m willing to bet that this goes for many businesses too. I think it’s high time we all took a hard look at what makes our businesses great and broadcast it to the world!
If all this has got you thinking and you’d like to talk about your brand – let’s chat!