See It To Be It

“If you can’t see it, it’s hard to be it” was a line that came up a few times in a ‘Lead Her round table’ hosted by Connexus Global, on the importance of women being visible in the workplace. While this idea is central and important to gender diversity and inclusion, I think it has a much wider application to visibility in general.

A vision and mission statement for a company is about envisioning the future and then building a company that lives up to that dream. In the case of a brand, the same applies, when careful thought is put into crafting a brand identity, and then if it’s nurtured and built over time, it stands for something. In an individual’s case too, it holds true. People who do the inner work, to understand themselves and live aligned with their true self transmit a special energy. They build an authentic brand rooted in reality and stand tall in a sea of reels and carousels, of visibility seekers going round and round but never getting anywhere. 

“See it to be it” for me was a reminder of the importance of the unseen work. The preparation phase happens under the soil in dark and damp places where nobody is watching. Not enough time and attention is devoted to this phase, where the seed of a corporate, brand or individual reputation is planted. This is the phase where the roots of a strong reputation grow, under the surface not visible to the world. Core values and core brand attributes that are not just nice sounding but are really the essence of what the brand stands for need to be examined, researched, and stress-tested to see if they will stand the test of time.

Being agile and flexible is important. Being willing to change and pivot is the need of the hour. However, staying true to who you are as you evolve is equally important. If not anchored firmly in this reality, then it’s easy to get uprooted and wither. Strong brands, companies with a solid corporate reputation and authentic thought leaders spend a lot of time doing the inner work, before going out and telling their story. 

A messaging workshop in PR parlance is one of the ways to help facilitate a deeper understanding of what a company is saying and why it is building that narrative. Understanding audiences and their sentiments towards the organisation, examining what the competition is saying, and finding a unique position to occupy in the minds of audiences is work that is done under the soil. Often not glamorous to be digging around in the dirt trying to till the soil to create the right conditions to allow the seed to grow. It’s hard work and the temptation to rush past this into the world of storytelling is so very tempting. “We don’t have the time to devote a full day to this…”. “Can we do this in two hours…”. “Do we need so many people to be part of this?” and many similar sentiments often get expressed.

The companies, brands, and people who bypass the initial foundation-building preparation phase and rush to get visible tend to become invisible. They blend into a sea of invisibility because they are just riding a wave of topicality or trying to jump onto a trend not being mindful of where it leads them. They cannot stand out because they don’t know or care what they stand for. Before you start shouting from the rooftops “Listen to me… look at me…” pause and listen to yourself. What is your story? What makes it important for your audience? 

College basketball coach, John Wooden said “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

This is something I paraphrase and use for brands and companies and their culture and identity. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. If you build strong character then the characters of your story will be strong. They will stand out and stand tall.

Can you describe your company or brand in a line? Can you call out three things that make it unique? More importantly, can your audience do the same? If not maybe it’s time to look below the surface and do some digging. Define what you stand for. If you are lucky, you will then see it and then you can begin the journey of being it. Let your story grow from within.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

Be the first to comment on "See It To Be It"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.