Guest blog by Stuart Bradley, Founder of Dos Dedos
If you’re reading this then you want your business to grow, and who doesn’t? But you need to really know who you are first. And then you need to decide what that growth really looks like. Do you want to be the biggest or the best? And if so why? Will you be scaling success or just scaling stress?
Because if you don’t know who you and your business are, you’ll end up scaling something you don’t like or enjoy. That’s why I set-up Dos Dedos as a business growth, mentoring, and non-executive director service…to ensure you can scale success not stress.
I’ve founded, scaled, and exited two very different businesses, which means I’m in an excellent position to help your business mirror my achievements and avoid my mistakes.
My name is Stuart Bradley and I’m the founder of Dos Dedos, a Creative Problem Solving Consultancy. And Non Executive Director of Freehab, a free online physical rehabilitation service.
Previously I’ve been MD of Trust, a branding agency, and COO of a software development business called Culture Shift. I’m very grateful to Hallidays for giving me the opportunity to present Step 8 of their BAM business growth series. I'm also grateful for the opportunity to pen this guest blog.
Regarding my new venture, Dos Dedos is Spanish for two fingers, which represent peace and victory for those who work with me. In fact my mantra is ‘Paz y victoria a mis amigos que avanzan conmigo.’ Which means…
‘Peace and victory to my friends who move forward with me.’
The 4 key parts of the process
But if you want to grow your business, let’s return to my first point…you need to know who you are! This is where this eighth step in the BAM series will help. It follows the initial steps that Dos Dedos prescribes to achieve tangible scale, and happiness for you. The four key parts of the Dos Dedos process are…
The first step of ‘Honesty’ applies to every stage of this BAM session. But particularly the first two stages, this is because we’re going to be tackling your reputation and values. These are two areas that are traditionally ticklish areas to address honestly. Many business owners are in the dark about their actual reputation; constant team and customer surveys are an essential way to tackle this. And when it comes to values, the ones that founders started with may have evolved or been lost through time, a changing business landscape, or team structure.
Understanding your brand
The importance of understanding your actual reputation is a vital starting point. It is worth remembering that your reputation is your brand. Which means your brand is what people think and say about your business. Which is distinctly different from your branding, because branding is your logo, colours, typeface, and all the visual elements you surround your business with.
This idea of reputation, visual identity and inherited brand was defined in a brilliant simple way to me when I was reading to my little boy [He isn’t very little any more, and he doesn’t let me read to him! But that’s by the by.]
The book is ‘Look Out! It’s the Wolf!’ by Emile Jadoul. The story focuses on a group of cuddly woodland animals who all seek shelter in Mr Deer’s house because “The Wolf is coming!” One by one Rabbit, Pig, Bear all find safety with Mr Deer and all keep watch for the wolf who is steadily and ominously approaching. Finally, the Wolf gets to the house…and guess what happens? That’s right, the animals had planned a surprise birthday party for him!
The reason I love this story so much is that it explains reputation, visual identity and inherited brand in a way that infants and adults understand. The inherited brand of the wolf is that of a baddy. A menace. A carnivore. A predator. An opportunist. And we all understand that immediately. The writer doesn’t have to say he is a baddy. It is just accepted immediately, which is why the ending is so surprisingly, charmingly wonderful.
Our natural programming means we agree with the assumption that the cuddly woodland animals are in danger, and that the Wolf is the embodiment of that danger. What this means to your business, is that you need to understand what assumptions people make about your business. For example, are all builders going to take your money and not finish the project? Are all IT companies going to blind you with tech science? Are all mechanics doing work on your car that doesn’t need doing? What I’m asking is this, “Is your company’s brand damaged by association with poor practice in your industry, previous owners, or a company with a similar name?” You need to understand these things before you begin your marketing, otherwise you could be building your metaphorical house on the sand.
Someone once attempted to explain ‘brand’ to me like this, “Imagine you’re at a dinner party, and you nip out to take a phone call, well your ‘brand’ is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” I fundamentally disagree with this analogy. If you didn’t have a good or interesting brand, you wouldn’t even be invited to the party in the first place. Look at the example of the wolf. Because of his brand we didn’t want him to get into the house.
When I spoke about the brand of the wolf, I spoke about the associated values of the wolf. He’s a menace. A carnivore. A predator. An opportunist. Even those were ultimately shown to be misplaced assumptions, your values can not be misplaced. They must be the behaviours your business and team demonstrate every second of every day. They are the pillars that support your brand. In fact, historically they used to be referred to as brand pillars. Values are key to enabling your customers and prospective clients to believe in your brand. They are the lifeblood of your business. There are many businesses that ‘play’ at having values. They put them on their website or as a graphic on their office wall, but they don’t live them. Values must be lived, breathed, demonstrated, and celebrated. Otherwise they are just wallpaper.
Like Rachel Dawes strongly puts it to moral-compass-lacking Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, “It's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you.”
Hallidays Business AM
My BAM session on ‘Growth through Marketing’, will help you understand the questions you need to ask to understand your brand and reputation now, what you can do to affect it, how your values are essential to this process and how the right marketing can reach the right people at the right time to help you achieve your growth plans.
Book your place
‘Paz y victoria a mis amigos que avanzan conmigo.’
I look forward to seeing you, bright and early on 1st February 2022.