It’s a lot easier to do things you like, than things you don’t like. You might be thinking…”duh”. But how many of you spend your time doing what you are passionate about? How many companies focus on the things they can do, as opposed to the things they should do?
I’m talking about what in most MBA programs would be called “core competencies”. These are the fundamental things your customers value, and that your company does better than any of your competitors. Let’s use HP as an example. HP is a company with many lines of business, many products and even more things they could be doing. One of the things that has made HP successful it its ability to “stick to it’s knitting”, as my Grandma used to say. When they have veered off course, they have acknowledged it and pulled back – sometimes not as fast as they would have liked in hindsight, but they eventually realized it and corrected their course so that they play to their strength of innovation. Their core competencies are the things that HP people are passionate about – innovation is what they are about. R&D is a vital part of every successful division. HP Labs holds more patents than any other working technology lab. The net result is that HP continues to lead in the businesses where it innovates. Why? Because it is doing what it loves to do.
When it comes to smaller scale businesses, the idea is even more important. Brandon Mendelson (@BJMendelson on Twitter) started his company in response to, well, having nothing else to do (his words not mine.) The company, Earth’s Temporary Solution, is the production company behind Brandon’s campaign “A Million High Fives (#AMHF on Twitter). Brandon is a guy who does good things, because he wants to. He is sarcastic and a bit wacky, but he is nothing if not following his passion. “Our goal is to empower others to help those in need. In the not-for-profit world there’s a lot of mistrust and people looking to make a quick buck on willing, happy people, so as a for-profit, we want people to trust us and know we are providing them with the right tools to do the greatest good,” says Brandon. By following his passion, and sticking to his core competencies, Brandon has amassed a huge following on Twitter, FaceBook and other networks. Currently, Brandon is one of the most followed non-brand, non-celebrity, non-media outlets on Twitter. He is following his passion, and consequently, people are following him.
Now you ask, how can you identify your passion, your core competencies? Ask yourself these questions about your business and your brand:
- Why do my customers choose our brand over another?
- What do we do that our competitors don’t?
- What is the one thing that we would protect over anything else?
Your answers will lead you towards clarifying your competencies. Take them, build on them and make them to focus of your branding (and business) efforts. When your brand is built on passion, it is authentic. There is an honesty that comes from doing what you like to do. You can’t make that up and you certainly can’t fake it.