Wanna Know What Your Brand Stands For? Write Its Obituary.

Nothing brings greater clarity than an impending death. You have spent a career writing obituaries for others. Now it turns out that if you AND your staff take the time to write your firm’s obituary it will reveal some interesting insights that will help you establish your brand better…or…learn you don’t have a brand after all.

We all hope that when it’s time to leave this earth we will be remembered and, better, we will have made a lasting impact. Brands are built on the essence of who you are and how you make a difference. If you are one of the lucky few who has succeeded in creating an enduring brand it is because you have been uncompromising in executing on that brand. What you stand for is so clear that even your customers can describe it.

So, how do you find that clarity. One way that can be effective is to write its obituary. Personify your company as if it were a live person. Think of that person on its best days when it is executing on its brand at peak levels. Answer these questions:

  • What was this person’s biggest life accomplishment?
  • What will they be remembered for?
  • What will people say about them at the funeral?
  • Who did they leave behind?
  • Was there anything unfinished in their life?
  • Who will miss them and why?
  • Was their death predictable and why?
  • To whom would they ask you to make contributions in their memory?
  • What lessons did they leave us with?
  • Now that they are gone, what will take their place?

Have your team answer these questions separately and then share them. Sharing them may be uncomfortable but is sure to reveal some insights and give you clarity about who you are (or aren’t) and where you need to focus.


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