Identity / Image
We’ve all been there. Maybe more than once. We’ve stood in front of a business decision knowing full well we didn’t have enough information to make it with any certainty. And then, made it anyway. I can say, from personal experience, it doesn’t feel good—a little like jumping off a cliff without knowing how deep the water is.
After getting that stomach-in-the-throat feeling one too many times and seeing a number of our clients in the same untenable position, I, and the rest of the Fathom team, decided to look at what kind of information could be universally applied to any business-related decision. That way we would always have something to fall back on. It turned out that one of the areas we already worked in, relationship-building, was central to what we were looking for.
In a nutshell
When you understand how your organization thinks of itself vs. how it presents itself vs. how it is experienced by the outside world, you will know how to best invest your resources to make the most difference.
Why are these particular impressions so critical to any business decision making? Because where and by how much they are alike or at odds determines the status of the one relationship that controls everything a business can hope to do: the relationship your organization has with its marketplace.
In my experience, most organizations don’t really know where their relationship to the marketplace stands. They only think they know, relying on assumptions and rumors that have built up and endured over time.
What you can do
To establish a better understanding of your organization’s own identity, ask the members of your team:
Who are we as an organization and why do we matter to the world?
To establish a better understanding of how your organization tells its story, analyze your marketing materials for key themes and consistency, and ask your team:
What do you tell people when someone asks about where you work?
To establish a better understanding of how your organization is experienced by those on the outside (your clients for instance) try:
Who are we for you (or your organization) and what is it we do or provide that makes the biggest difference?
Ask these kinds of questions of your team and your customers and you are in for a rich conversation chock-full of opportunities to see and understand your organization from a more objective and thoughtful place. You will not be disappointed with the insights gained and you will have a strong foundation for any strategic decisions to come.
This kind of work can be difficult for some organizations to do on their own so we facilitate the whole process for many of our clients.