Do you sometimes get the urge to run screaming from anything that promises to analyze, improve, build, boost, redefine, strengthen, develop or otherwise invigorate your brand? At these moments, do you simply want to put your head down and make pizzas, sell shoes, see patients or welcome guests – or whatever it is that you do?

Relax.  It’s OK, and it’s perfectly understandable. You’re suffering from brand burnout (that’s a newly coined technical term), a condition resulting from overload on well-meaning, and sometimes very sound, advice from all manner of experts on how your business is positioned and perceived by your customers.

Don’t panic. It’s not that your brand isn’t important. It is – in fact, it’s critical, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need a constructive break every now and then to stay sharp.

Here’s the secret…Take off your brand hat. Step away from the job, the company and the business. Remember what it’s like to just be a fan.

Way before things became complicated, there was you, and the companies you loved.

What’s your favorite restaurant or store? Think about how you feel about it. You love going, don’t you? Of course, you love the food, or the selection, or the service, but – when it comes to your especially favorite places, it’s more than the stuff they sell, isn’t it? It’s fun to go.  You look forward to it. You go out of your way to go. You stay longer. You enthusiastically recommend it to friends. What about it causes you to feel that way – to make it part of your routine and your life? What makes it so extra special?

For this humble blogger, one of those favorite businesses is my local grocery store. It doesn’t hurt that it’s less than five minutes from my house, but I’d drive a longer distance to get there. I’ve been going there since I moved to the area. Of course, selection and quality are great – that’s a given. It somehow feels brighter and cleaner than other places, and they’ve kept up with the latest technology, featuring specials on nicely placed digital menu boards (like where I buy my deli meat). I like how they have a local personality, and they’re extremely active in the community with special needs kids. I also like the fact that I usually find myself humming along to some of my favorite songs or grooving down the cereal aisle (really). They’ve made doing business convenient. I read their emails and belong to their loyalty club. I know the staff, and they recognize me (except maybe on a really bad hair day).

Now that you’ve thought about your favorite place, and read about one of mine, perhaps you’ve gone back to the basics and remembered why it’s important to manage all the details. Because all the little details – representing an endless stream of decisions – help you create fans. No matter what business you’re in, you’re designing a destination where you want folks – the right folks (your target customers) – to feel at home. You want them to truly connect. To feel welcome, and feel like they belong. To think of you whenever they have a need that falls in your area, or a friend that wants a recommendation.

So now, you can return to the real world. But remember, whenever you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about the endless ramifications of your brand – just go back to the basics. You’re designing an experience to create fans. Like you.

– Submitted by Michele Davies, Communications