Who am I? The question every brand and leader must ask




There is great power to be wielded every time we ask ourselves that elementary question; Who am I?, We can ask that question both for our personal brand and the brands we champion in the market.


Who am I? What is my identity, my essential self that makes me, me? When we are clear who we are, we find our place in relationships, our pathways to growth and how we can shine more brightly in the here and now.


By taking the time to reflect on our identity we can embody it more, live it more and share it with others. To hold our value in the world we need to make this a regular practice for both ourselves, and the brands we represent. Those that take the time to reflect and express their identity and to redefine it against a changing landscape, endure.


In a world of constant change, every individual and every brand approaching a new challenge, is best to begin with the question: “Who am I?”. By searching for our identity against changing circumstances, we can hold true and steadfast, evolving amongst the turbulence around us.


This self awareness created through constant reflection can deliver strong differentiation and advantage, take for instance the resilience of European car manufacturers.


Once upon a time lean manufacturing, doing more with less within the boundaries of a company, was a key way to deliver sustainable profits. Today, as lean manufacturing is universally adopted, it is those externally engaged manufacturers, who are sharing information with customers and suppliers, that are holding their own in the world of low cost labour markets, such as Brazil and China.


So just how does self awareness feed into this success? How does self awareness contribute to collaboration and the extension of the value chain across an ecosystem?


Self awareness is the foundation for clear personal and professional boundaries, based on a clear identity and knowing where we stop and others start. This means knowing the respective ownership of assets, information and opportunity and having integrity around those boundaries. In addition, companies that work together in these ecosystems also need to produce consistent quality outcomes as ‘my reputation is linked to your reputation’.


At the core of a strong ecosystem is a strong regard for intellectual property and a safe platform and process to share information. One case in point is Germany’s Schmitz Cargobull, who have created a telematics system that allows complete tracking and the state of any trailer, with a real time view on vital data such as their maintenance status and the current load being carried. (Harvard Business Review 2014)


Schmitz Cargobull’s data system has allowed the company to be seen in a way far beyond the vehicle. The answer to their question “Who am I?” for customers, has evolved to a rich and profitable identity as a trustworthy source of vital information, a quality control partner, a partner in safety outcomes and a dashboard to make better decisions. For Schmitz Cargobull’s suppliers the answer to ‘Who am I?’, is a strategic partner, careful planner and the source of insight. Their real time supply of information gives suppliers the opportunities to plan ahead, address issues at “pre problem stage” and increase their customization of product.


Schmitz Cargobill are not alone, Daimler France, producers of smart cars, have so evolved their collaboration through data integration with their suppliers. Today , Daimler can produce an amazing 10,000 variations of cockpits, all based on a smart production lines that allows for just-in sequence production. (Harvard Business Review April 2014)


So before you approach your next challenge take stock and ask Who am I? and push the question even further by asking Who am I in this relationship? Who am I in this business opportunity? Who am I relative to my competitors?


Louise Kelly

Founder Thought Leaders Circle



Managing Director

Hearts and Minds


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