The secret sauce of the What’s the idea? brand planning rigor (WTI is my blog, but also a brand consultancy I had for 3 years prior to coming on board at Teq) is the battery of questions I use when interviewing company stakeholders. Finding out what a company does best and matching it with what the market wants most is the goal. I may have just found a new question. The inspiration was an amazing story today in The New York Times of Lonnie G. Thompson, a man in search of proof that global temperatures are rising.
The secret sauce question is most powerful when asked of an individual, yet it can be altered to apply to a company. Let’s stay with the individual, for simplicity’s sake:
What is your life’s work?
Not an easy question to answer. Or is it? Most will probably say something like “Be a good parent.” Or “Be a good spouse.” Maybe “Leave the world a little better place.” Perhaps “Be a better person.” Following up these answers with probes will get you to the meat of the discussion. Using the question with a company, however, may get bogged down in “mission statement miasma,” but don’t let it. A “life’s work” has to have import. If a company has a hard time answering, it likely will have a have a hard time branding it.
As my Norwegian aunt Inga might have said “Tink about it.” Peace.