That’s the first question I ask the representative of a company, whether a senior executive or a marketing manager, whether the company was set up a year ago or was founded 50 years ago, whether its business is B-to-B or B-to-C.
The reactions to this question are as amusing as they are interesting. Yet we think the answer to this question is decisive for the future of any company. You won’t find it in the description of the company’s business, in its sales figures, in its long-standing presence or in its global growth. The question is more complex than it seems. It’s an existential one (yes, your company is a living organism!), which requires decoding on two levels: an objective decoding of the company’s past operation and business decisions, and of the components of its current development strategy.
Today’s sales figures are no guarantee of tomorrow’s business.
A long history is no longer enough to reassure consumers.
Size is no indicator of efficiency or performance.
The rules have changed fast, and in this new world we need to reset the criteria behind a company’s legitimacy in its market.
A company’s legitimacy to exist in a market lies not in its determination to make profits, but in its willingness to upend an established operating model in which consumers no longer have faith.
The answer to the question “Why do I exist?” is the starting point of the company’s reset. It’s about rethinking in order to get into orbit for the future. It’s a rational, responsible move that challenges old mentalities, which resist the present in their struggle to survive.
We live in fantastic times. Defining and claiming your legitimacy will breathe new life into your company, creating internal inspiration and external appeal. It will give you the thrilling sense that you are contributing to a new world.
So what is your legitimacy to exist? Let’s talk about it.
by Didier Stora
General Manager – gyro Paris
Cross posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network