[00:00:00] Kaine: Are you a business owner wanting to build a brand, but you're constantly being pulled in a hundred different directions? On The Ventur Podcast, we give you the clarity and direction you need to build a brand that leaves a legacy. From brand positioning and messaging to market research and more, you're gonna learn exactly how we strategise successful brands with our clients here at Ventur. I'm your host, Kaine Levy.
[00:00:37] Hey guys, it's good to be back recording another episode of The Ventur Podcast. It's, uh, it's been, it's been a minute since I've recorded one, you know, and I feel pretty bad about that, so apologies for being away for a while. It's one of those funny things, you know, it's a catch-22 where I'm so busy branding and marketing other people's businesses that I rarely get time to sit down and do it for my own.
[00:00:59] So yeah, what we've learned is that I need to hire an assistant or some sort of social media manager. So I'm probably gonna do that at the end of this episode. Anyway, today's episode is called, "Is Your Brand Stuck in an Echo Chamber?" Now, this is gonna be so, so important and pertinent for pretty much all of you listening to this because the answer to "Is your brand stuck in an echo chamber?" is probably yes. Purely based on all the people that I meet and all the business owners that I work with. Now, before we go any further, let's make sure we're on the same page. What is an echo chamber and what do I mean by your brand being stuck in an echo chamber?
[00:01:35] Our trusty friend Google says that an echo chamber is an environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered. So when it comes to building a brand, this is a huge, huge problem because your brand is essentially the reputation of your company and the product or services that it offers, and that reputation is formed by the people who experience those products and services.
[00:02:02] So if you're stuck in this internal loop, this echo chamber of opinions and ideas, whether they're your own or those of the people you work with, you're gonna find it very difficult to innovate, change, and keep up with the trends in the industry and in the market as a whole.
[00:02:21] Before we go any further, I want to tell you a little story about what sparked this topic for this podcast today, because it's really, really interesting actually. A few weeks ago, we were out in Germany doing brand strategy with a new client out there, and while we were out there, we were introduced to a CEO, really cool guy, really smart and intelligent guy. Runs two companies that have been going for sort of three or four decades, I believe. I'm gonna try and keep this as confidential as possible.
[00:02:46] Uh, essentially these two companies, these two brands both operate within the same industry, right? And the idea with them is supposed to be that they both. Are positioned in such a way that they're different from each other and they serve a different segment of that industry so that they can overall claim more market share with those two brands rather than, you know, just having one company, which is very niche in its positioning, but the problem that they're having is these two companies, these two brands that they own, are essentially competing with each other because they're serving the same market segment.
[00:03:19] Now the reason for this, I uncovered pretty quickly in our conversation and it transpires that both of these brands have the same 75 employees working for them and of course the same CEO heading both companies as well. And to top it all off, my understanding is that a lot of the key decision makers, at least in the marketing and branding side of the company, have been with them for a very long time.
[00:03:42] So here I am having coffee with a very intelligent CEO of two brands that are successful, have been around for several decades, and yet they can't see the simple fact that the reason they're struggling to grow their brand any further at this point is because they have the same minds doing the same actions that they've been doing for a very, very long time. So they are stuck in this brand echo chamber, and that's what I'm talking about.
[00:04:06] Now, I imagine most of you don't have multiple brands, especially not multiple brands that are competitors in their same niche. However, what I do want you to take away from this story is that if you are a CEO of a brand and you've been doing the same actions for the last however many years, and you've got the same team members, particularly senior leadership team members that are doing the same actions and processes that you've been doing for ages, you're not going to be able to innovate and break out of any kind of rut or sticking point.
[00:04:34] So now that you are aware that the brand echo chamber is a thing, we can now look at ways of solving that all-important problem. And honestly, just showing self-awareness to it, just listening to this episode and knowing that it's a thing is already 80% of the solution because you don't know what you don't know, right?
[00:04:51] If you aren't aware of the fact that you are in this pattern of same thinking and same ideas and lack of innovation, you can't really fix the issue, but now you do know because I've told you so we can go about fixing the issue.
[00:05:02] Now, the absolute best way that I can recommend of solving this problem is to bring in someone that is totally neutral. Some kind of facilitator, some kind of strategist that can bring in frameworks and new ways of trying things and developing ideas that you wouldn't have otherwise decided with your own team. And actually, as a business owner, having someone else come in and lead these meetings is really, really satisfying and liberating for you because, instead of having to be the person that makes the final decision and judging all the other ideas that are coming your way, you can actually get involved in the creative thinking, in the strategic process yourself, and that's a really powerful way to kind of bond with your team and put all of your heads together in ways that you otherwise wouldn't have done.
[00:05:48] Mitko: Hey, this is Mitko from Ventur. I hope you're enjoying the episode. If you are, we'd really appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and we'll shout you out on the next episode. Back to the show...
[00:06:04] Kaine: Now, one of the ways that we absolutely love to do this with our clients is with what we call a brand sprint, which is, if you've heard of a design sprint, it's essentially the same model. It comes from the UX/ UI world, and it's a five-day process of workshops to come up with new ways of solving problems in a really creative way. Just we like to use it for brand-specific problems because branding is what we do.
[00:06:25] One of the most insightful workshops that comes out of these brand sprints is called Rose Thorn Bud. Now Rose Thorn Bud is really powerful because it's essentially a way of assessing your brand and seeing what opportunities there are for you to take advantage of. So rose are, think of the rose as the flower, the positive things that we like about the brand. The thorn, the negatives, the sharp things that we don't think we're doing so well. And then the buds, the things that are yet to flower and are potential opportunities for us to be taking.
[00:06:53] Doing a simple exercise like this where you gather the team together and assess as a team, as a company, what you think you're doing well, what you think you're not doing so well, and what opportunities exist in the market to take advantage of together, you'll be amazed at some of the obvious things that haven't even been discussed.
[00:07:10] Especially when you have a facilitator present who can run the workshop and allow the rest of the team to just be creative and think strategically, taking all the pressure off of you and the team themselves, the ideas that come out are absolute gold. So Rose Thorn Bud is a really powerful exercise that you can do.
[00:07:27] But the more important thing to take away here is that bringing someone in from the outside who can facilitate who can strategise with you, help you run workshops and give you a fresh perspective on your own brand is such a powerful way for sparking innovation and growth and changing your actions and behaviours that can get you out of that dreaded brand echo chamber.
[00:07:48] And if you didn't know, these sprints, these workshops and these ways of strategic thinking and creative workshopping have been the catalyst for some of the most successful ideas in the world today.
[00:07:59] One company that used a sprint to found pretty much the entire idea for their service and for their brand as a whole is Airbnb. Airbnb was founded as a result of a sprint, and my understanding is that the founders at the time, there was some sort of convention that was going on in their local area, and the founders needed to make rent where they were staying in the west coast of America. And they decided to basically rent out their air mattress in their apartment to people who'd be visiting from, you know, other parts of America or even from abroad to come to this convention. And that's when they realised, hey, there might actually be some sort of business here, some sort of long-term business plan.
[00:08:35] So they ran a sprint and within just five days they were able to strategise and come up with pretty much all of the key elements of what we now know to be Airbnb, which is the most successful brand within its niche. And as of March 2023 when I'm recording this episode, they are worth over $75 billion. So clearly this way of strategic thinking and creative workshopping works and is such a powerful way for breaking out of these similar patterns of thinking that you might currently be stuck in.
[00:09:08] So what I want you to do after this episode is to just sit there for a minute and really be honest with yourself. You know, ask yourself the question, "Are we stuck in a brand echo chamber? Are we doing the same things that we've always done? Are we trying new ways of doing things? When was the last time we brought in someone from the outside to give us a fresh perspective on our brand, whether that's a facilitator or a strategist or some kind of workshopper?"
[00:09:33] You know, there's no shame in asking for help whatsoever. As a CEO, you are constantly being pulled in hundreds of different directions with your brand, with your business, with your product or service, your marketing. There's just always so much going on that it's really cool actually to just let someone else come in and guide these workshops, and ultimately, you and your team are still the ones who make the decision. It's still your brains, it's your creative thinking. You're just having someone there to facilitate that creative thinking in new and innovative ways that you otherwise wouldn't be able to achieve.
[00:10:06] So if you're fed up of being pulled in those hundred different directions and you want some clarity, you want some direction, you wanna make sure that your brand is positioned properly, that it's different enough from competitors, that it has longevity to it in a way that's gonna resonate with customers over a long period of time, then I think working with a strategist or a facilitator will be a really, really powerful way to get you out of that rut, and ensure that you are not stuck in that brand echo chamber because changing your mind annually or every time you get a new head of marketing, or every time your competitors outdo you in some sort of way is not a sustainable strategy for building a successful long-term brand.
[00:10:42] So do yourself the favor, get this sorted now and save yourself the headache knowing that you have a clear direction for your brand.
[00:10:50] Thanks for tuning in. If you learned something new this episode, subscribe to the show for more tips on helping your business stand out. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts and we'll give you a shout-out on the next episode. And if you're hungry for more great resources or if you'd like to work with us on building your brand, head over to venturagency.com. That's "Ventur" without the E.
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