What Has To Die

The healing power of transformation.


Gardens have weeds. Bodies have cancer. Management has mantras. Companies have traditions. Industries have norms. And we all have excuses. Each dies hard.  But the success of both your business and your brand requires that all things harmful to it’s potential and growth, be eradicated, completely.  100% gone!

Death in the realm of marketing is applicable to that which chokes the life out of building customer loyalty and their evangelism of your brand.  And so, if you are tasked with your brand’s survival and potential transformation, then you need to accept that somewhere along this journey, something will have to die. And you probably are going to have to be the one to have to do it, and the one to have to deal with the consequences…both painful and joyous.  

For starters, make a list of everything that’s getting in the way of your product, service or cause being embraced by the consumer to become a cult brand.

Don’t let the excuses or history behind why certain barriers exist, keep them off the list.  Just suspend reality for a moment and pretend that a law was passed that said you had to list everything that’s threatening your brand’s full potential.

Now look at the list and pick the top two or three things, that if you could do away with them, your brand would become even more attractive and relevant to the consumer’s embrace and could be transformed into becoming an iconic brand that reaps the ROI benefits of customer loyalty and makes it more bulletproof to competitive pressures.  

Next to each of the items, write down what may happen if you don’t eliminate the barrier. Date the list and set a target for when you are going to get rid of these barriers…for good!

WARNING:  Killing corporate conventions or traditions that have lived beyond their relevance, has never been for the timid.  And just a caution here, if you’re not willing to kill it, don’t pull the trigger.  There’s no bigger burden than dragging around something that’s half dead.  But if you’ve determined that something must go, kill it before it kills you.

You can do this.  But more importantly, for the sake the brand, you must.  But you have to be prepared to go through the grieving process.

Shock:  You may initially be paralyzed by the fact of death.

Denial:  You will try to avoid the inevitability that something is no longer an option or reality.

Anger:  You will be frustrated by the loss.

Bargaining:  You will seek, in vain, to try and find a way out of accepting the loss as final .

Depression:  You will finally realize that this was inevitable, but you still miss having it around.

Testing:  You will begin to seek realistic solutions to the new reality of the situation.  

Acceptance:  You finally accept that there is a new way forward, unencumbered by some thing from the past.  

You need to accept that grieving has a beginning, and thankfully and end.  And there’s really no skipping over it.  It’s going to be a dark tunnel for a while.  But what makes a tunnel a tunnel is that it’s designed with both and entrance and an exit.  And you will get to the other side and see daylight if you just convince yourself to keep going.

Imagine slaying the biggest things that have been holding your company back and committing to the uncomfortable consequences that come with that act as well as anticipating the freedom and potential that are to follow  You will probably experience all seven stages of grief, and if you think you can skip them, you are wrong.  

You can stuff them away or deny them, but that will only cause more problems down the road.  Be open to feeling the pain, because in doing so, you will get to the other side…healed and transformed by what you’ve accomplished. And for the first time in possibly a very long time, you’re going to feel alive, like at-the-end-of-a-thrill-ride alive.

Success has never been for the timid. But you didn’t get to where you are by being that kind of person anyway.  Remember, the transformation of your brand, and quite possibly your career, will begin where the status quo ends.

Bill’s work and advertising insights have been featured in USA Today, Time, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Paul Harvey News, The New York Times, ADWEEK, and Advertising Age. Bill has also received the Silver Medal Award from the United Nations for his work combating Domestic Violence
Previous Post Next Post