If you have worked as closely with a sales team or organization as I have, you may be familiar with the expression sense of urgency. It is terminology that appropriately describes the idea of where the action is, where the proverbial rubber meets the road.
It is helpful to approach our work with a sense of urgency especially when we’re talking about responding to issues and serving customers. With a big caveat: this does not mean that we should rush to conclusions or be harried through the process. The first duty we have as we build anything is to ensure that enough thought and evidence-based research is done to make sure that we’re not reacting vs. responding.
The big difference between reacting and responding is in how closely the results will match your expectations. When you are reacting, you are working off someone else’s agenda. When you are responding, you are working off yours. We generally react to situations; respond to issues – reacting gets personal; responding remains professional.
How does all this relate to brand building? It does in the lasting impression associated with you and your product and service. Branding is about what's inside your company, what's inside you, your heart. Leaders in addition to telling stories, embody them. Think about Richard Branson at Virgin, Anita Roddick at The Body Shop, Armani. A brand is personal: it's about integrity, consistency, and freshness. A brand is memorable, tells a great story, matters -- to employees, customer and suppliers -- and is available to one and all.
Here's the thing: branding is all those things you communicate *and* all the others people perceive about you, it's both. So next time you're walking up with a great sense of urgency, make sure it is all thought out. The best way to move others to action is to inspire and infect with enthusiasm. After all, you would want to respond to events and issues in a way that is strategic (why), planned (experience and skill), and effective (infectious).
[photo of Largo Garibaldi in Modena, the big picture]