Who are you? It's a question that ought to be easy enough to answer. If someone were to ask you this simple question, you would likely give them your name and maybe a few small facts about what you do. Perhaps you would say a bit about your family or maybe tell them where you're from. But that hardly answers the question does it?
Given, our personal story is likely far deeper than the story of our business, but we should still be able to tell someone much more than our company name and what we do. What do you stand for? What are your core values? What are the benefits of doing business with you? Even if you can answer these questions quickly, does your business culture reflect these statements? Do you really do what you do and do it the way you say you do it? Do you consistently communicate with language and images that align with who you are?
In the following lines from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (I highly recommend watching it in its entirety by the way), Absolem, the caterpillar, asks Alice the simple question, "Who are you?" After stammering around a bit the dialogue goes like this:
Absolem: The question is, 'Who are you?'"
Absolem: We shall see.
Alice: What do you mean by that? I ought to know who I am!
Absolem: Yes, you ought, stupid girl.
(The scene takes a turn here as the characters in the story show what Alice it is she is to become: their heroine and savior from the Jabberwocky.)
The White Rabbit to Absolem: Is she the right Alice?
Absolem: Not hardly.
"Not hardly." At first take it may seem like the caterpillar is saying that they have brought forth the wrong girl entirely. However, digging a little deeper, it seems that Absolem is suggesting that Alice simply has yet to become who she really is.
Have you become who you really are? Are you wearing the armor and swinging the sword and doing business the way you imagined you would when you first started your company? Are you daring to be fully invested in your brand, or, are you stuck in "not hardly?" Developing and maintaining your brand — who you are — is vital to being a successful business. It creates market awareness, it preserves consistency for your customer base, and it tells your story.