My recent exposure to online dating sites like Match.com, eHarmony, Tinder, and OkayCupid revealed a small identity crisis in defining who I am as a person. Each of these sites listed action items as a starting point – questions like, “Describe yourself”, “What defines you?” “What’s most important to you?” “What do you believe in?” As a client service associate at a brand firm, I found myself in the shoes of my clients, going through the same journey as they do when defining a brand core.
In describing myself, I go through a long survey that targets my core essence and values from multiple angles – lifestyle preferences on food, culture, music; character questions and ‘What-If’ scenarios; from family values to neighborhoods of my choice, etc. Then with the magic of all that is online, these sites calculate my answers using their unique algorithm to find the best match for me.
Just like a person has unique values and core essence, a good brand has differentiating ‘cores’ that represent its true character. It can reflect the heritage, the personality, the vision or even a holistic approach to all three. Brands should have longevity and be adaptable to change. Whether it is a transition or an expansion, a strong brand core should persist.
A good brand core – just like a person’s own essence – should be able to withstand the challenge of an identity crisis against competitors who will expose the brand’s weaknesses. When challenged, strong brands stay true to what the brand stands for.
My journey of finding love hasn’t reached its final destination yet– but it has revealed my innate values that are not on the table for negotiation. Have you reflected back on your own values and ‘core’ recently? How are they different from who you were 10 years ago?
You might be surprised at the result – as branding minds all say, when the core is right, you’ll know it.
By Joanna Lee