Almost as soon as the media could begin reporting about the most recent flu outbreak, various interest groups started complaining that the name of the epidemic was harming them, or their reputations, in some way. Then one day last week, as we were driving from a meeting about a customer-listening project, we heard it: the Swine Flu had a new name. In order to prevent a negative impact on pork producers, this latest influenza strain was, from now on, to be called “H1N1 Influenza A”. Here’s the problem. The swine was already out of the gate. The name was already widely known, simply pronounced, and easily remembered. H1N1 Influenza A, not so much.
Once again, we feel like we’re harping on the same old lesson. You can try and proclaim what you are, or what you want to be. But if the market has already decided that for you, it’s going to be time-consuming, costly, and possibly unsuccessful, to try and convince them otherwise. That’s why it’s always important to make sure your company has a plan from the outset to define who it is, and what it stands for. It’s also equally important to be listening to your buyers, and hearing what they’re saying about you. Otherwise, you may just be investing time and effort in trying to convince your customers you’re something that they’ve already decided you’re not.
Megann & Steve