Have you ever thought of what people would say about your brand if it were no longer around ? How would people remember what you built? Don’t worry — it’s not as grim as it sounds. In fact, these are the questions you must ask yourself as a leader with a clear vision for the long-term. And these questions are that a ‘Brand Obituary’ will help you answer.
The exercise allows brand owners to step away from the immediate, day-to-day tasks that consume their time, and see the bigger picture. Its goal is simple, yet powerful — to identify your brand’s purpose, i.e. the reason your brand is in business, beyond money and success.
That’s not the only useful outcome though. There are bigger benefits that will help you solidify your brand and take it strength to strength. An obituary exercise forces you to confront the future — and in doing so, you’re bound to come to an important realisation — that there are two routes to consider in any brand journey.
The first — that got it to where it is, and the second, that will power its future.
While the first route must constantly be fine-tuned, the second can be developed when you ask and answer questions about your brand, that go beyond profit. Ask yourself — what change do others want to see in the world? How does your brand fit in? How can you articulate a purpose that will inspire your audience to trust and support your will your purpose motivate those that you work with? Look for patterns and similarities in the answers, and you will be able to determine what your brand needs to lead a productive life, and what could possibly lead to an untimely death. A great example of a larger purpose is that of a popular soap brand. It goes beyond the usual promises — better skin, tighter pores, pleasing scent — to tap into its target audience’s emotions. Its purpose goes beyond the superficial, and aims to increase female self esteem. Isn’t that wonderful?
Once you’ve completed the exercise, it’s time to walk the talk. Take for example a world-famous American media conglomerate and its unique purpose — to create ‘Magical Experiences Abound.’ To be remembered as a brand that created magical experiences, it lives this ethos 24×7. Here’s an example — at the brand’s theme park and resort in Florida, rides take photos without the rider even realising it. Long-range sensors match the rider with the photo and it simply appears in the app or in their online account the next time they look at it! This is a small but powerful example of how it creates magic, every single day.
Sure, positive thinking is powerful and picturing success — the outcomes you desire — is a popular exercise entrepreneurs across the world. But sometimes, taking a negative approach is just as important. By imagining a future without your brand, you can use those learnings to create one in which it thrives and makes lasting impressions on customers.