Remember having one of those whip rod flags on the back of your bike when you were a kid?
I'm sure they were created to improve bike safety, but they quickly became the biker's expression of self. You might be drawn to your favorite sports team or color. Other bikers went to cool designs or size. (I was a Minnesota Vikings man all the way!)
And you didn't fly a flag that didn't fit you. No guy would be caught dead with a pink Barbie flag. You knew, if he was on a bike with one of those flags - it was his sister's bike! The flags were more than decoration. They were a declaration. "This is what I'm about."
Although we didn't know it, we were learning some very important lessons about branding as we selected and flew our bike flags.
Your brand is your flag. No matter what kind of a storm your organization endures or how quickly you are changing directions - your flag is visible to everyone. Your employees, your customers, your potential customers. And they're going to keep an eye on that flag.
Your potential customers will be able to spot your brand and decide if they want to come to where you are. There's no reason for them to engage with you if you're flag is neon orange and they're really more of a beige buyer.
For your customers and employees, your brand flag reassures them that you're honoring your brand. They can come to you with confidence, knowing that they're going to get that consistent experience they've come to expect.
When the wind is whipping around, you, I promise -- everyone is watching that flag. Will you take it down? Will you change it in the face of controversy? Is the rod strong enough to keep your flag flying?
We also notice when a company is constantly changing their flag -- as though they aren't quite sure what you're all about or stand for. Are you guilty of the revolving door method of branding?
During battles, troops flew their flag proudly, letting it remind them (and the world) why the fight is worth fighting. Your brand flag serves the same function for your internal team. Give them something to be proud of. Give them something to believe in. Give them a flag that they'll fight to protect.
So as you think about your brand, remember that it is going to wave high over your organization for all to see. Choose your flag carefully.
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