As you read this, I am running a global brand workshop for a client. There will be 40-50 members of staff from around 12 different countries and we're going to work together on a new brand strategy. And one of the exercises, I'll definitely do is to look back over their 30-year history at what they've achieved.
Because although we're building a new strategy to shape the future of their brand, it's really important that we take the time to look at where they've come from and celebrate past success. And this is something that too often, as brands, we forget to do. Particularly if we're small. We don't have the time and resources to look back - all our energy is focused on the next big thing, or even just managing the day-to-day.
But it's really important that we take the time to look back and recognise where we've come from, how we got here and what we've learned along the way.
It helps us embed the lessons of the past, so we don't repeat our mistakes. It helps us understand the evolution of our brand and the journey we're on so that change seems that little bit less scary. But most importantly it brings us joy and helps us feel proud of who we are.
And that's absolutely key.
If we don't celebrate the past, we can't acknowledge the things that have made what we're doing now, possible. And we struggle to remember why we're doing it at all.
Just to be clear, I am talking about the positives only.
Often brands will use the excuse of heritage and tradition to celebrate aspects of their past that are not OK. For example, a past built on exploitation. Or a founder whose behaviour was extremely questionable. If those things are in your past, acknowledge their negative impact, apologise genuinely and publicly, and allow people to respond. Because only once it's dealt with and you’ve made amends for what happened, can you move forward and celebrate the good things.
As we're coming to the end of the year it's great to take time to celebrate your past achievements. Recognise the good that you've done, and how it's built the foundations for your brand. And make sure you say thank you and well done to those who have helped you get here.