When I popped into my local independent bookstore this week, I saw a slip of paper promoting The 2015 Reading Challenge. Intrigued, I read through a list of eclectic reading prompts, wondering if they’d be of any interest to me because I already am a highly self-motivated bookworm, and always have been. The only prompt I need is to not read 24/7! But I kept an open mind and read through prompts like the following:
- Read a book from your childhood
- Read a book in a genre you don’t typically read
- Read a book you’ve been meaning to read
- Read a book published this year
- Read a book you should have read in high school
I changed my mind after reading the list and realized that challenging something we do quite naturally and easily is indeed the perfect challenge. We all get into ruts—some even good and well-intentioned! Challenging ourselves to reflect, relook and rethink why we do what we do (or don’t do) can be just the process we need to achieve something different, something unexpected, and quite possibly, even something more.
These reading prompts made me think of how I gently provoke my clients when I am in the midst of leading brand tune-ups. “Look up! Look around! Look sideways!” I encourage. “What has changed in your marketplace? With your customers? With your product line? Your promotional offers? Your marketing communications? With your competitors? With YOU?” I ask. We grapple with these challenges together, always wanting to examine and understand status quo before dreaming big.
In that creative and open spirit, why not, as a brand leader, create your own Brand Challenge? Make a list of all sorts of prompts that may both ignite new brand behavior and reexamine old behavior. Review with your team and then just jump into it! Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Call a customer and have a meaningful conversation about their brand experience and insights.
- Clean out your brand closet … what do you need to let go of?
- Take a BrandAbout field trip and visit five brands not at all related to yours. See what you learn.
- Take a BrandAbout field trip and visit five brands very much related to yours. See what you learn.
- Make a branding TO DON’T LIST.
- Figure out your brand verb.
- Take a customer service person out to lunch and LISTEN to their experiences.
- Simplify one process.
- Spend a day in another department.
- Find something interesting that your brand did 5 years ago, 10 years ago.
- Eliminate one thing that does not enhance your brand.
- Get a reverse mentor in some area.
- Send a thank you to someone internally.
- Send a thank you to a customer.
That’s it. I dare you!