SEVEN themes for using your identity

'Act down to earth and cherish your roots'

Developing identity from the roots works for everyone. Whether it’s a small organisation or a multinational, you can use it to acquire an unparalleled market position. But what’s the best time to deploy the roots method? We’ll answer that question in this overview as we cover eight common practical situations. In all cases, we combine theory and practice to give you a head start in the thought process and an inspirational guide for the choices you make. Enabling you to realise transitions that deliver results.

#1Refocus on corporate identity

Much has been written and said about corporate identity in recent decades. Seminars and conferences galore. Bookcases full. Our roots-driven identity differs in one essential area from this traditional paradigm. Our approach begins from a single source and extends from there: your organisation’s identity and the leading concept that is logically derived from it. Both connect productivity and creativity and give colour and direction to any tangible or intangible output coming from your organisation.

As a consequence, cohesion is created within your organisation and it becomes a source of inspiration and creativity. Fostering connection, commitment and collaboration. In this way your organisation's identity can also occupy a place in the hearts and minds of all employees, regardless of level or function. This can all lead to a smart reorientation, a return to your core identity and thus give the powerhouse of your organisation top priority.

#2 Refining strategy

The purpose of strategy has always been to define the best and quickest route to profit. But how do you do that in practice when the context is fluid and, therefore, in many ways so unpredictable? Taking identity as the departure point gives a reliable point of reference because that's what connects everyone and everything. A clear vison of who you are is the proverbial guiding light to direct, motivate and inspire you. A vision that can be relied upon.

When identity is central to the strategy, combine the greatest possible freedom and room for manoeuvre within the natural boundaries of the brand concerned. Facilitation from your organisation is thus usefully connected with inspiring individuals. An either/or becomes a both/and. This type of strategy positions responsibility exactly where it can make a difference. And it is the ultimate method for doing, learning, adjusting and adapting. Taking identity as the departure point can thus result in a more refined strategy.

#3 Benefits of innovation

It’s intrinsically a missed opportunity if the margin for innovative thinking remains underused. In profit and non-profit organisations alike. For instance, if it appears that your organisation is relying too heavily and exclusively on sales or that it’s losing substantial ground but still believes in success formulas from the past, then the time has come for a rethink. From the realisation that our own context is the only reality that we observe and therefore could be the weakest link if adjustment is required.

Innovation can flourish by for example reappraising something from a holistic point of view. When - from the perspective of identity – is it possible to create circumstances where the sum is greater than the separate parts? That is the first step in letting go of trusted and once tested routines and making space for co-creation and appreciation for example. Identity-driven innovation offers a host of new opportunities and can yield finds that will revitalise your organisation and underline its position.

#4 Getting to grips with communications

Be good and own it. That’s still the mantra of communication specialists or departments while there is no organisation that still has complete control over its own image. Social media afford people an immediate understanding of what is really possible or going on in your organisation and how that compares to the way you communicate it. And it is relentless and lightning fast how discrepancies between the reality as presented and hard facts go viral. With unpredictable consequences.

So your communication must be authentic, in step with reality. A natural extension of your identity. And your communication should be consistent with the experiences and perceptions of target groups and stakeholders when they’re in touch with your employees. Taking identity as the departure point for communication is robust, shock resistant and points to the desired point on the horizon. Even when the going gets tough.

#5 Change in partnership

Change is the only constant. Quite a cliché, but true. Changes are either driven by internal necessity or due to external forces. The latter, however, can only take hold if they’re supported from within. When they’re recognisable in how people work together. Then identity comes into play. The what and the how may change, but not the who.

The people who are eventually going to do it should work together consistently and predictably by making choices arising from their common identity. If they’re aware of that, then they have a reliable navigation system at their disposal to steer them together successfully to achieve a (possibly new) common goal.

#6 Working on the location

Leaving nothing to chance is an unseen strength. And so the design and styling of your premises can receive an extra impulse through a visual and physical translation of identity. In the case of renovation, relocation, merger or for example the introduction of The New World of Work. Working from the core of your identity can throw up surprising and organic choices for an interior design that is an expression of your organisation's personality. An expression that goes beyond trends, hypes and fads.

Identity-driven choices for furniture, lighting, colour and routing will confirm and strengthen the brand and associated core features. For employees as well as visitors.

#7 Finding the best people

The right chemistry is as unmistakable as it is impossible to define. The classic challenge involved in finding new employees is how to discover that chemistry. It’s a question of finding the ideal blend of professional skills and personal qualities. A balance between diverse characters who complement each other. And as the Dutch say: there can be no shine without friction, after all.

But how do you align an individual’s personality with the ambition of your organisation? An important criterion is that the individual is a good fit in terms of character and mentality and can easily identify with the common ambition. And it is equally important to keep that diversity in temperament.

Your organisation’s identity delivers a selection mechanism that is as logical as it is effective. The exclusive properties of your organisation are encapsulated in that identity and articulated in words and images. The more of these characteristics there are to be found in the new people you’re looking for, the more commitment, dedication and energy you harvest for your own business...

How to know what fits and what is out of your front-yard?! Think identity! Want to know more? Take a look at The Roots always win or order a paperback copy for 15,- euro here.