Insights

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Written by Cheri Quinn, Mercury Brand Strategist

You know that if you want different results then you need different approaches. Yet often the reason your brand may do certain things is as simple as “That’s the way we’ve always done it”. 

Here’s a short story and a list of questions to help you decide if your brand needs a refresh.

There was a newlywed couple preparing to host a family dinner for the first time and they decided to serve a baked ham. They had never made baked ham before but the new bride remembered that she loved her mom’s baked ham and called to ask for the instructions. Her mom told her “Take a 10 lb. ham, cut off both ends, put it in the roasting pan and bake it at 350 degrees for 2 ½ hours”. The bride was copying the instructions and stopped to ask, “why do you cut off the ends of the ham?”

Her mother thought for a moment and said “those are the instructions I learned, and that’s how I’ve always done it. I got those instructions long ago from your grandmother, let’s ask her.”

Thankfully, the grandmother could still remember her original instructions for the perfect baked ham. The women all listened as grandma explained “you take a 10 lb. ham, cut off both ends, put it in the roasting pan and bake it at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.” The bride asked again, “why do you cut off the ends of the ham?” and grandma said . . . “So, it will fit in my pan.”

I heard this story very early in my marketing career, so long ago, in fact, that I can’t remember where the story comes from, but I’ve remembered it always and share it often with marketing directors that struggle to explain why they are still using certain messaging and tactics. I often hear them say “that’s the way we’ve always done it”.

You see, this silly story helps explain, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t mean it’s the best way to keep doing something. The reason that certain messaging was used or events were scheduled or processes and designs were implemented might have made sense at the time but simply don’t apply anymore. 

You can imagine that the newlywed couple might have a modern kitchen, a different oven, and, at the very least, a different size roasting pan than the bride’s grandmother had when she baked her first ham.

Change can be hard, it’s time-consuming and uncomfortable. It’s easy to continue doing things the way you’ve always done them. But, as things change within your organization whether it be leadership changes, membership declines, new product launches, or serving different market segments, it’s important to take a look at the way you’ve always done things and ask if those ways still make sense for the current state of your business.

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering whether or not your organization needs a change in messaging, look and feel. 

  1. Ask different team members what your organization does. Then ask your partners. Then ask your clients. Do they all answer the same way?

  2. Have you gone through internal changes that have not been reflected externally?

  3. How many taglines does your website convey? Is it more than one, or maybe none at all?

  4. Take a look at your competitors’ messaging. Does your messaging clearly articulate how you’re different?

  5. Have sales or membership numbers stalled?

At Mercury Creative Group we begin each rebrand project with strategy first. Our brand strategists and project directors will guide you through discovery and insights gathering that will uncover the true essence of your brand. If the way you’ve always done it is no longer working, let’s connect. 

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