Among the things that a startup CEO hears everyday, apart from the never-ending – “But why didn’t you join IT?” and “But then, why did you waste so much money on MBA?,” branding and DNA definitely take up the top spots. But then what is this DNA thing that sounds like Chemistry, but is still dominating the world of business?
DNA, in the world of science, is something that stores biological information. It is what makes you as a person who you are, and that’s quite literally how it translates to a brand, too. A brand’s DNA is a combination of where did the brand come from, what keeps it together, and what is its long-term aim. Things like vision, mission, and short-term goals are all derived from this core ‘thing.’
Now, chances are that if you’ve already been in existence for some time, you already have a fairly good idea about your DNA and brand identity. But if you don’t, or if your big idea is just starting to take shape, here’s a few handy tips about what you can do to find out your own DNA:
- Look within yourself: As clichéd as it may sound, most of the answers to your existential questions are within you. Take a trip down memory lane and think back upon what was it that motivated you to start your own company – was it some incident, was it some problem you were trying to solve, was it some movie character you got inspired by? That should help you get a deeper insight into the cause that you’re rallying for, which is what your DNA is all about.
- Your core values: Even though all companies try to follow some or the other basic value system, there are inherently some things that you feel more strongly about. For example, some companies may believe in doing good work, others may be all about making clients happy. Some may be into offering premium products, and the others may be all about value for money. Identify your core values and they’ll help you discover your DNA.
- What makes you different? Since you’ve survived for so long and probably already established your own niche in the market, it’s worth taking a step back and thinking about what truly differentiates you from your competitors. Is it your willingness to be extra client-centric, is it your quirkiness or fun quotient? Thinking on this can help you find what your motivating and uniting factor is.
- Clients: Sometimes your clients can inadvertently give you an idea about your brand’s DNA. Do you usually work with startups or experienced companies? Do you work with a particular industry sector? Or do you work with companies in a particular city? All these could be key indicators to your brand’s personality and DNA.
- How does your brand communicate? Most brands communicate with their customers and the general audience in some form or the other. Is your brand funny and aggressive? Or is your brand guarded and professional in its communication? Realising how you communicate can also give you an insight about your brand’s voice, personality, and DNA.
If you think about all the above-mentioned points and your company’s history, you are most likely to end up at a point where you discover your brand’s DNA, that’ll help your employees and you unite to achieve the company’s purpose. If you do already have a good idea about your brand’s DNA, it’s still worth questioning yourself on the points below to see if what you’re thinking is actually your true DNA!
The importance of a brand’s DNA can’t be stressed enough. And once you do discover your DNA, it is your responsibility to wear it with pride, and stick by it every step of your entrepreneurial journey. At our company, Social Panga, our brand DNA is one of being loud, quirky, different, and dedicated to all things Bollywood, and we’ve noticed that the campaigns that we create to resonate with our DNA end up being some of our best work.
Another famous brand that has a very clear DNA is Apple – one of simplicity and premium products. And we all are very aware what happened when they decided to go against their DNA and launch the iPhone 5C – a cheaper version of the iPhone. It didn’t work out at all, and Apple discontinued it almost immediately. So there you have it – discover your DNA and be yourself! Cheers!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory)