You’ve done the work.
The competitive analysis, the goal setting and the deep soul searching has been completed. Brand values, value proposition, personality, essence — it’s all captured on your brand platform. You’ve even activated it with a website refresh and are following social media guidelines to a T.
It’s been going...fine.
But you're wondering if you've lost some of the magic. People aren't responding as enthusiastically as you want them to.
Could your brand be getting stale?
Don't worry! It's common to question your brand choices, even when you know they are strategically sound. We can use three expressions of The Fool archetype to help transform your fears. Let's see what each expression has to say.
(Archetypes like The Fool, The Hero, The Creator, etc. are symbols that reoccur in literature, art, and life. Every archetype has its light and shadow sides; we're looking at the light sides of the fool for direction in this article!)
1. FOOL AS TRUTH-TELLER: TAKE A STEP BACK.
The Fool is able to look at what they are seeing without attachment. In other words, they have no bias. Particularly relevant here, they aren’t operating under the Sunk Cost Fallacy. (The Sunk Cost Fallacy is when we put foolish weight into things we have invested time and money in. These are things that aren't actually working for us, but we won’t drop them because we’ve already invested so much.)
If your brand expression is feeling stale internally, it may be time to take a look at what you are doing with a truthful, unattached eye. You may be able to get this perspective yourself or your employees, but it may also be necessary to get your target audience in the door with their honest feedback. It may be that just a small tweak or two will get you the brand engagement you’ve been looking for.
If you've been in business for a while and what you used to do is no longer working, you may need to shift with the times. This could be a naming solution (like if your startup name feels dated or cheesy), a brand/messaging solution (how have you evolved to solve the needs of your customers over the last decade?), or a tools solution (MySpace may not be the most effective channel...). The point is, use the detached eye of The Fool to help you see the truth of your situation and be open to the solution that's right for you.
2. FOOL AS GAME-PLAYER: PRETEND YOU’RE PLAYING A GAME.
The Fool doesn’t take life (or business) too seriously. They approach decision-making from a place of, “What would be the most fun?” Inserting this question into your product launch meetings can open up the kind of creativity that would otherwise get judged and silenced before being spoken out loud.
Whenever House of Who needs to tap into creativity around our brand, our CEO says, “What if we we just a bunch of artists doing an extended performance art piece as a brand agency?” Suddenly, everyone has permission to think a lot weirder, which infuses unique passion and fresh ideas into to whatever we’re discussing.
Play a game and pretend you don't work for the company while you browse the website or social media. Would infusing a bit more lightheartedness in the content enhance your experience?
3. WISE FOOL: SURRENDER AND ENJOY
Sometimes we start wanting to make changes in our brands because we’re anxious. We think something about our brand isn’t working, when really it just hasn’t been enough time yet, or not enough people have seen it yet. If your fear of your brand being stale is more about anxiety than a deep knowing, you may need to take a lesson from The Wise Fool.
The Wise Fool knows that we can’t control life, business, or other people. So instead of getting anxious about future scenarios they can’t control, or laboring over mistakes of the past, they stay in the moment. They enjoy the task in front of them, knowing that if they give their spirit to every endeavor, they will have done their best and gotten the most enjoyment out of it, too.
In other words....cool your jets, execute your current plan with joy, and pick a date when you will re-evaluate. You aren't allowed to worry about it until then!