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If I only had a brain, a heart, or the nerve. Dorothy and her friends traveled along the Yellow Brick Road in search of what was believed to be missing. Each had a challenge set before them—imaginable wishes out of reach because they lacked the significant component necessary to achieve the twinkle in their eye. The Scarecrow yearned for intelligence and realized that this required a brain. Love captivated the Tin Man, yet without a heart, this was one hope that would never come true. Then there was the Cowardly Lion. This particular King of the Jungle was afraid of every itty bitty thing and needed much courage to live up to his brave name.
When each encountered Dorothy trudging to see the Wizard, optimistic he could get her home, they decided to join her quest. They figured if he was capable of helping her find her familiar place, certainly he was able to give them their impossible. So off to see the Wizard they went. It was time to obtain the treasures they so desperately needed to acquire to realize the desires they so desperately wanted.
Here, we learn one of the most memorable and valuable lessons taught to the human race. It deals with the power and the magic of looking within. Their meeting with the great and all-power Wizard of Oz (who turned out to be just a man behind the curtain) taught our lovely characters that everything they needed they already had. What they were searching for, they each already possessed. They just forgot to look in the most critical location—self.
We as organizations are repeat offenders of this habit. We set goals, recognize an organizational need and take off, scrambling for the answer, searching everywhere except for home base. We don't take the time to examine what already exists and has been underutilized or completely untapped. There is so much potential unfulfilled within, yet we gloss over it, hunting for the next shiny object to move our goals closer and in reach. To quote the famous song by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff, "And you'll finally see the truth. That a hero lies in you." The answer to our SOS has never been too far off. Our rescue has never been too far gone.
Let's take our Cowardly Lion, for instance. His journey begins with his reputation. He was confronted with his brand—the King of the Jungle. As the beast who ranked at the top of the food chain, the Cowardly Lion realized he was known for fearlessness and valor. Immediately he felt he could not live up to his name, and panic became his anchor. The lion becomes afraid that he isn't what he seems.
This response isn't unique to the Cowardly Lion alone. Organizations struggle with the same imposter syndrome facade. We work to understand our audience by accessing their headspace. In our probing to learn more, we discover their perception of us, and before we know it, we're making a list of all the ways we fall short of their outlook. We must realize that brand is what people say about us when we aren't in the room. It's the gossip or the Word On the Streets regarding your business. If your audience can see it, believe them. It is already there.
Your audience did not pull your rep out of thin air. They didn't make up a new version of your brand just because they had nothing better to do. If they see a King of the Jungle, then by gone, you are the King of the Jungle.
As organizations, we often get in our own way, producing our very own defeat. We look inward for trends and answers to understand our audience's expectations and needs. When we finally realize we must venture outside our four walls if we want to understand our industries and audiences, we are then confronted with the answers and begin to look outwards for the tools, resources, and heart to affirm what is indeed true.
Don't negate the strengths that are already there. Take time to audit and review what has already been created and what already exists. You owe it to yourself, your team, and your org to discover the magic within!
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