Define Who You Are Before Anything Else

“It is more important to know who you are than where you are going, for where you are going will change as the world around you changes.” This quote, pulled from a Harvard Business Review article on building a company’s vision, couldn’t be more timeless—and especially applicable in today’s ever-evolving business climate. It’s why certain companies continue to be successful, while others chase their tails.

As the agency has been vying for and on-boarding new clients, I’ve noticed that one of our key exercises—defining the particular company’s core mission and key value proposition at the start of a program—has been especially telling in whether decision-makers and executives are on the same page regarding who they are as a company. It seems like a basic question, but trust me, it isn’t. Some feel their identity lies in what the company does, while others focus on their target demographic (which is sometimes up for debate) and still others point to the specific products and the current and future demands they serve.

The bottom line: Knowing what your business stands for is a critical anchor from which all future company decisions flow. Skipping this step in favor of quickly getting a product out to market or meeting with industry influencers to spread the word may seem fruitful, but those decisions are more about where you are going and will likely cause your long-term strategy to be shortsighted.

Because consensus on who you are as a company is so integral to the effectiveness (and cohesiveness) of the company’s future plans, it’s essential to come to agreement on your identity before pulling the trigger on a PR strategy.

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