Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Goal Amnesia: How to avoid a New Year Slump for your business

Christmas is over for another year. The shops have taken down their Christmas decorations and are already setting up their Easter displays. Hangovers are now forgotten (I hope) and bank balances have been checked, panicked over and you’re now resigned to a careful, penny-counting January. This month is all about making and sticking to those New Year’s resolutions.

But what exactly are resolutions?

 Typically at this time of the year we make a firm decision to go to the gym, or not to eat any more cake. To save money. To not spend our paycheque on the first day of the month. We’ve all started our years with these kinds of good intentions.

But a resolution is not complete without a goal.

The goal to lose the Christmas merriment that now clings to your hips and makes you waddle, for example.

And we all know by now that it’s very difficult to stick to your resolutions and achieve your goals, without looking into your current behaviours and most critically, your current habits.

Whilst these are very much personal resolutions and individual goals, it’s also an opportunity for companies to make resolutions for the New Year too. So that they can build upon the successes and/or implement the learnings of the past year.

Our CEO Peter Cunningham has a long history within the business world and more specifically, the market research industry, running both his own company but also working directly with big pharmaceutical organisations. Throughout his years working with pharma he has been asked many times to help brand teams formalise their brand purpose, so that the team can create and implement the most effective sales and marketing strategy.

When asked about the problems that businesses can face in the New Year, he says:

“All the issues that companies face evolve around good and bad habits; when good habits are forgotten or not instilled and bad habits are not addressed effectively.”

Peter refers to this as ‘Goal Amnesia’ where companies at the corporate or departmental level have forgotten what their brand purpose is; not only for the product they are intending to sell, but also the purpose of the team. It’s a result of everyone coming back after the Christmas holidays, reacquainting themselves with the work they left from before the break and becoming busy with that. Which can result in them losing sight of their overall goals.

Ask team members to define their brand purpose, and they seem to struggle to articulate exactly what the goals are that they are working towards, and what their role is within their company. Without refreshing this, it’s likely that the machine will still run, but unlikely that it will run to its full potential.

Which is why the start of a New Year is the best time to refresh those company goals.

If you haven’t already done so, then use this time to take your team aside and recap what your brand purpose is, what the expectations are for your brand and re-establish your brand / company goals. Do it together, because it’s important to have your team aligned.

The same way that if you yourself have made the resolution to lose weight then it’s no good having your head promise to put down the cake, when your stomach is doing all it can to consume that cake.

Welcome to 2015 everyone!