Thinking through or overthinking: are you slowing down your brand?

Your brand relies on careful stewardship. Research, workshops, strategy sessions all conducted to heighten clarity, differentiate meaningfully and inform decision making. It’s not only the necessary steps to understand your market opportunity, it can enable you to move forward with greater confidence. But where is the line between thinking through your brand and overthinking it?

The adage that time waits for no one is true. Opportunities to influence the market today may not present themselves tomorrow. Even research completed may have a limited shelf life. That’s why it’s important to take informed action with intent. And do so in a timely manner.

Here are five things to keep in mind as you think through your brand.

Avoid analysis paralysis.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with data. Sometimes the journey from Point A to Point B seems never ending. When you detect that you are caught in a circular pattern of thought, be deliberate and break out. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s the only way forward. Do not let the good be the enemy of the perfect. Stake a position that is based on the best information available to you and take action.

Recognize personal preferences and prioritize opinion.

We all have our own personal likes and dislikes, and the ways we prefer to go about our business. As challenging as it can be, it is essential to separate personal preferences from opinions that hold value based on experience and goals that need to be achieved. It’s always healthy to assess a range of perspectives, but not at the expense of reaching decisions. It’s not personal. It’s business.

Embrace fluidity.

The market is dynamic and always responding to economic and technological and behavioral influences. It mandates regular temperature checks to assure that your brand is maintaining its relevance. It also means that there’s room to evolve over time. It’s absolutely vital not to abandon the core of your brand or equity you’ve established around that core, but you can evolve. Apply what makes your brand different and valued in a new way. Meet new needs. Expand to new audiences. Answer new challenges. Let your brand core empower solutions for your customers. Appreciate that there’s flexibility to evolve. When you pull the trigger on strategy and tactical execution, even though it may seem indelible, it is not. It’s a moment in time, with many more to follow.

Remember Rome.

It was not built in a day and neither are enduring brands. Just as research and strategic planning take time, so does tactical development and thoughtful execution. Rushing through production makes no more sense than sacrificing the time needed to form strategy. Although the idea of taking time may initially appear counterintuitive to taking action, it is not. The key is careful planning and prioritizing activities into phases. What are the essentials? What can wait? What’s being driven by true need vs. politics or personal preference? Be pragmatic and push forward purposefully.

Adopt accountability.

As individuals and team members we need to own our work. In order to move forward collectively, assign timetables and responsibilities. Capitalize on people’s strengths and be fair. By creating distinct phases and prioritizing tactics, mountains can turn into hills and the tasks at hand do not have to be daunting.

Ultimately, the burden of thinking things through instead of overthinking falls on the shoulders of the brand’s leaders. It takes courage and conviction. What separates that from arrogance and ego is acting on knowledge. Decisions that are based on information allow you to move forward. As long as your brand is in the market, it will need attention and care. Leaders that are committed to the long view without getting trapped in process will be able to meet their brand goals and course correct as needed without ever sacrificing what makes the brand distinct in the first place. Each step along the way is relevant, but ultimately it’s the journey that matters most.

by Jonathan D. Katz

06/18/2015