Welcome to the Creative Engine blog. My name is John Willie, Creative Engine partner. For years, I’ve been fascinated with branding and it’s importance in creating value as a differentiator.

In every generation of senior management, the old guard wants to leave their legacy; and the new guard wants to score, making a name for themselves on the way up. Both generations have come to the conclusion that there is no better way to make an impact than to make a big splash by doing something new, “Ahh yes, let’s embrace innovation.” Now you might think that I am opposed to innovation, but I’m not. I believe that “renovation precedes innovation.” The strategy of renovation first is based upon the insight that there is a major difference between core competencies (what you know how to do) and core essence (who you really are as a brand) and why a solid understanding of core essence is at the heart of business success.

Another way of looking at the two competing philosophies is in this example. Innovators will say, “Let’s start with what we can build, and see whether we can sell it.” On the other hand, renovators will say, “Let’s see what consumers need and if we have the core competency to make it.” The renovators are constantly asking their customers and potential customers regarding their wants, needs, desires. The renovators provide products and services that their customers and prospects really want. The consumers are literally providing stimulus to the renovator’s brand. This would lead us into another discussion of customer loyalty and the efficiency of retention versus spending to capture new customers.

And now, a closing thought… the marriage of the top and bottom line will come about when the heart of a business is focused on brand clarity, consistency and leadership… and the courtship begins with renovation.