10 Questions Brands Should Never Stop Asking Themselves

I really like this reminder by Marc Kramer, via Forbes: 10 questions that brands should never stop asking themselves – regardless of how “old” or established they are. Keeping these questions in mind ensures that the brand remains aware and agile in responding to the rapid, continual changes of the marketplace.

  1. What is our purpose for existing? A lot of businesses had a purpose when they started, but over time their product, service and market changed. Have you adapted? Should you adapt?
  2. Who is our target customer? It’s a lot easier to come up with great ideas and convince people to buy into them if it is clear who is purchasing your product, and why.
  3. Why does anyone need what we’re selling? All too often we fall into the trap that people want something because we like it. This is the road to perdition.
  4. If there is a need, is it enough to support a profitable business? Being aware of your marketplace and customers will be vital to answer this.
  5. What were our competitors up to? If you formally analyze your competition, you will not be caught unaware about what they are doing and be able to respond accordingly. Whether you are selling a product or a service, you have to be constantly innovating.
  6. Can you reduce expenses–without harming the product? Find out what you can afford to let go. Ask around – even your vendors and suppliers – because they might have some very interesting insights for you.
  7. Do we have the right leadership? As companies mature, they require managers with different skill sets.
  8. Do we have the right employees? There are employees who know how to bring new products and services to life, while others know how to nurture an existing line.
  9. How will we continue to drive revenue? The management and board must hold a down-and-dirty strategic planning session. Go ahead to a bar and toss around ideas with employees. Invite your customers to tell you what you could do better. Companies can’t live in vacuums. Chances are, what works today won’t work tomorrow.
  10. How are your employees holding up? You have to check the temperature of your employees, let them vent and encourage their honest feedback. These stakeholders are the key to pleasing your customers–and your shareholders.
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