One thing I have noticed lately is that we are all very caught up in the here and now. I remember the days when I could relax and think about the future. Whether planning for my own life or my clients’ brands, I remember having the time and inclination to look toward the future and envision more.
I’m missing that today.
I have found that companies are spending more time focused on immediate issues than planning for the future. Grocery stores are focused on period numbers, companies on quarterly earnings, and my kids are obsessed with how many “likes” they get on each Instagram post.
There is something to be said about living in the moment, but don’t we also need to look to the future both for inspiration as well as for precaution?
From a branding perspective, this can be critical. Here are three reasons why focusing on a long-term vision or strategy will help you grow and succeed.
1. Control Your Brand
Who really controls your brand message? As companies, we used to be able to control the message of the brand through how we spoke about it, the advertising we used, our claims and our brand position. Today, our brand is often shaped by our customers through reviews, tweets, comments and more.
As a company, it’s easy to fall into the trap of reacting to customer comments rather than proactively leading your brand where you want it to go. By only living in the moment, companies may find that they are chasing their tails and losing track of what their true goals are.
Public opinion can occasionally prove to be insightful and help you learn and grow, but don’t allow it to be the rudder that’s directing your company strategy. Stay focused on your long-term goals and stay true to your brand promise, no matter what today’s Yelp review says.
2. Chart Your Own Path
Product development, especially in retail and on a large scale, needs to be planned years in advance. It takes the right partnership between functional experts to make products come to life.
While you are planning for growth, new items will inevitably pop up that you may have never imagined. They may give you new ideas, make you second-guess your choices, or even change the dynamic of your category.
In the face of these challenges, trust in your brand and stay your course. Keep an eye on trends and what’s new, but don’t lose sight of the product mix you have created and are committed to. Dollars go fast and mistakes are costly.
3. Slow and Steady Can Still Win the Race
Ask yourself and your team: “Are we in this for the long haul or will we want out in two years?” Either answer is valid and completely dependent on your own situation and desires, but an honest answer will help you choose your path moving forward.
However, when you look at the brands that have stood the test of time, they are brands that have remained committed to their core pillars but have been flexible enough to grow and expand appropriately over time. An established brand like Coca Cola may stumble by chasing a trend, like when they introduced New Coke in the 80s, but their company has remained successful by remaining true to their brand identity and keeping an eye on long-term strategy.
Our world is superficial and our trending topics change in a moment’s notice. Take some time to drive deep into what is meaningful to you in your life and your business.
Try living below the foam for a while. It is richer!