The 777-300 took off from Istanbul Ataturk Airport On the morning of a February day at 1:20 a.m., I went to Honk Kong, the city where I met a client to start a project. Turkish Airlines Flight 70 would take about 10 hours to fly all over Asia, so I decided to have a light dinner and sleep for a while to be awake as the plane flew through Indochina. I had wonderful memories of this region that I hadn’t visited in over 20 years, so I was very excited to see it from over 30,000 feet as well.
Sitting next to me was a middle-aged woman who sounded Greek to me from her accent when she spoke English to the stewardess. While we were being served our first drinks and some trays of nuts, the woman introduced herself and told me that, like once a year, she would go to China to visit some suppliers. I tried to mentally imagine what his business was. “Textile!” I thought to myself. I took a sip of mineral water and, without being able to resist curiosity, asked him if he was right:
“What sector do you work in?”
“Equipment for ophthalmologists,” he told me in English, clearly learned in England. We used to buy them in Europe, but recently we have been using Chinese manufacturers that have good prices and good quality. (Obviously he was wrong).
“Do you live in Athens?” -asked.
-Yes. Although I come from Patmos, an island in the Dodecanese. And you?
“I live in Miami,” I said, “but I was born in Italy.”
-Italy! My grandfather spoke Italian, ”he told me. My island was Italian until World War II, so my “nonno” spoke it. But not young people anymore. Has been lost. And what are you doing
“Uuummm,” I thought. “How do I explain to an optical and electronic device expert that I want to create stories for brands and organizations?”
Most entrepreneurs and executives are used to moving in a familiar environment where they are surrounded by people who share the same context. Hence, they seldom have to explain what they are doing to someone who belongs to a completely different world.
For example, imagine a young Mexican businesswoman who has started a micro-business with her sister to make a guajillo and chilli sauce based on a recipe that has been in the family for generations. Since childhood, our businesswoman had heard the neighbors praising the guajillo sauce that her grandmother had made with her secret recipe. After graduating, she decided to make and sell them in the neighborhood. In a short time, not only were friends buying the sauce, but some shops in his town asked if it could be sold to their customers. Things started to go well and one day our businesswoman decides to fulfill a dream she had since elementary school of going to Paris. During a trip to Versailles on the bus, a Japanese tourist sits next to him to chat. Our businesswoman knows that in the next few minutes she has to explain to someone what she knows about Mexico and has never heard of guajillo peppers.
What would you answer? “Am I at the grocery store?”, “Do I produce processed products?”, Or maybe you could answer, “I bring the traditional flavors of Mexico to millions of people.” Or better yet, you could say, “I’m making a product that’s for Mexicans like teriyaki sauce is for Japanese.”
A Colombian businessman who owns a candy and candy company is invited to a friend’s daughter’s wedding in Miami. During the party that follows the ceremony, the bride’s father introduces our businessman to his North American father-in-law. How would you describe him?
“He’s Pablo, the largest confectionery manufacturer in Colombia,” or he could put it another way: “He’s Pablo, the greatest ally of Colombian dentists, millions of people owe him their cavities.”
Surely our employer would prefer his friend to introduce him and say, “He’s Pablo. For us Colombians, the sweets he makes are the taste of memories of our childhood. “
One of the first tasks a business owner or entrepreneur should undertake is figuring out how to describe, or how to have a friend describe what they are doing in a few words, and even reach out to someone who has no cultural or social context has the organization or the brand. Because it is of enormous importance to have the right story at all times, like the Mexican businesswoman in Paris, or like the Colombian confectionery manufacturer, to be planted in the minds of the people around us.
Determining the history of the brand or organization is a delicate matter. Because of this, I decided to write a workbook that outlines the steps to follow in a practical way.
The purpose of this column is to suggest practical and easy-to-use tools to help you achieve these goals. In any case, it must first be determined where the brand or organization comes from, where it is currently and, above all, where it will develop in the future. Read more about this first process.