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THE POWER OF THE NORTH STAR.

17th July 2017

North Star
 
If you don’t have a destination in mind, you can’t start your journey. True, it starts with one step, thanks for the heads-up Laozi, but in which direction?

In the world of business, companies need a destination and the corporate and brand journey are only worthwhile if that brand is heading towards a goal, a new place, a new destination. It doesn’t need to be some new madly dangerous undiscovered territory, geographically or commercially speaking, but it definitely should be somewhere new.

It doesn’t need to be some new madly dangerous undiscovered territory, geographically or commercially speaking, but it definitely should be somewhere new.

One person can’t complete this journey by themselves and neither can an unfocused group of individuals, no matter how well intentioned. If everyone is contributing, but doing so with his or her own unique styles and at his or her own pace, you’ll end up going around in circles, or worse, becoming hopelessly lost. That’s where proper management comes in. Both company and brand management.

When I picture this, I’m not seeing Capt. Bligh cracking the whip, or some huge fellow banging the drum in the galleys, but instead knowledgeable, experienced and respected leaders. These leaders would allow their entire crew to see the destination clearly and show how, with everyone working together, the company’s business goals are not just possible but also plausible. Cohesion is something we should all be striving for, in fact, it needs to be at the top of the list when beginning a relationship or when restarting an existing one.

One person can’t complete this journey by themselves and neither can an unfocused group of individuals, no matter how well intentioned.

Brand communications and advertising are, in a way, the only cohesion for a team embarking on any marketing journey. It can be the strongest and most desirable ‘glue’ to attach the different departments and create a common goal and belief. The nature of most businesses is inherently vertical if you think of innovation through research and development, production, distribution and sales. Often the only visible constant through of all these endeavours can be the brand promise and how the brand is communicated both internally and externally.

Cohesion is something we should all be striving for, in fact, it needs to be at the top of the list when beginning a relationship or when restarting an existing one.

Far too frequently a lack of a North Star in the business plan results in feudal management structures. In the agency/client relationship, the client often sees the agency as the crew, the means to an end, while the agency sees the client as the captain of the ship heading in a wrong or an ill-advised direction, but ultimately paying for their passage. No wonder the crew are often seen as disposable while the ship’s hierarchy earns little to no respect, and find it harder to get the right crew and complete the journey.

the agency sees the client as the captain of the ship heading in a wrong or an ill-advised direction, but ultimately paying for their passage.

There’s more to a successful brand than just generating content and then sharing it, or aimlessly chasing after each new trend or development just to appear cool or likeable. You can’t just start travelling around and expect to get somewhere you need to be. It may be fun but it would prove, more often than not, ultimately pointless.

It may be fun but it would prove, more often than not, ultimately pointless.

So, before you start the journey, select the right crew and engage them entirely. Get them to buy into where you are heading. In fact, go one better, get them to play a pivotal role in selecting the destination. Ask them how they could help the entire company get there faster, more intelligently, innovatively and safely. You will be pleasantly surprised.

It’s not a digital or a traditional journey and it’s not about the channels or the tools that you use. It is the destination that needs to be focused upon and you need to be agile enough to change tack. You need to be able to make the right decisions along that journey to arrive in good shape.

as long as you and everyone else can look up and see that all important North Star, you are still on the right course.

An excellent crew pulling together makes this possible. The journeys we embark on these days can be more fractious in nature, but as long as you and everyone else can look up and see that all important North Star, then you know, and the entire crew knows, that you are still on the right course.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re going off on holiday it may be nice to focus on the journey and not the destination, equal amounts of fun can be had. But in business, when the journey is rightfully full of milestones, KPI’s and other measurable criteria, just having fun along the way won’t get your creative work out into the public domain. It won’t get your contract renewed and it won’t deliver the revenue you need to survive and thrive either.

 

Phil Lynagh
Director SHA.

“The opinions in this article are that of the author alone and in no way, reflect the opinions or viewpoint of the agency. Unless of course we happen to agree with those opinions completely, in which case they might, but otherwise they don’t”

 

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