September 3rd, 2016
Every high-performing enterprise continuously rates its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats — all of which are both external and internal.
This essential exercise, known commonly as the SWOT analysis, must be conducted objectively and honestly — or is a total waste of time.
SWOT is so fundamental that it’s one of the first tools a business-school professor teaches to a new crop of MBA students.
Those engaged in a SWOT analysis customarily present their findings and conclusions in a four-box matrix. It is a dynamic analysis: what happens in one box affects the other three.
Absent too often, unfortunately, is the recognition and understanding that the company’s brand — which sits atop and determines strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats — governs said analysis, as seen in the diagram below.
Newsflash: Without knowing and incorporating your company’s brand, the SWOT analysis is worthless.
If your company has a strong brand — customer-validated value proposition — it has more strengths, fewer weaknesses, more opportunities, and fewer threats. The converse is also true.
As I’ve written previously, too many CEOs don’t understand branding, give it short shrift, or dismiss it altogether. Naturally, the other CXOs, as well as the rank and file, will emulate the CEO’s attitude and actions.
I can’t state this enough: Branding is the CEO’s #1 priority. Ignore at your peril.
To avoid confusion, the graphic below illustrates what a brand is NOT. If your company worships itself or its logo, products, technologies, and jargon, it has no brand. Sorry.
Parting Advice to CEOs
Your people cannot conduct a meaningful SWOT analysis without incorporating the brand, as depicted in the graphic above.
If your brand is weak or unknown to your employees (a tautology), there is nothing to incorporate, and the SWOT exercise is futile.
Finally, without a strong brand, the marketplace will swat your collective asses.
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2016 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.