Brand Ontology

What’s your ontology?

Ok. Let’s step back for a second. Ontology is a word we don’t often use in daily conversation. Mirriam-Webster defines ontology as:

“1. A branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being.
2. A particular theory about the nature of being of the kinds of things that have existence.”

So, when I ask about your ontology, I’m wondering about your reason and purpose for existence? Perhaps your ontology is to care for your family. Maybe your ontology includes generosity and happiness. What is true about everyone — whether they can define ontology or not — is that they live with specific beliefs about purpose and existence.

These beliefs govern the choices they make on a daily basis. Your ontology helps you decide between 2% and nonfat milk, between grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Your ontology pushes you toward the conservative- or liberal-side of the aisle.

Ontology in Business: Your Reason for Existence

And as a business, your brand ontology governs your organizational purposes.

Does your business have a reason for being? If not, you run the risks of proceeding rudderless on a voyage through the marketplace. Where you go, how you get there, and the crew you hire will illustrate the aimlessness you will feel without a clear ontology.

If, however, you are able to define a reason for being, the rest of your business strategy will find placement. Your hiring practices will operate under a core reason for being as you look for people who can sign up for a shared ontology. Your culture will flourish as the stories, processes, strategies, governance, etc. unites under a core purpose.

Your products and offerings will unite and your focus on specific market segments will align. Any research and development around new offerings will live or die by its connection to your ontology.

Ontology as Business Performance

And ultimately, your end audience will understand your reason for being, developing a long-term relationship with your company. If your end audience adopts your ontology, you will have created a word-of-mouth promoter for your business, helping your company create enduring value and increased performance in the marketplace.

So what’s your ontology? Whether personally or organizationally, defining your ontology brings clarity to your life and your business practices. The decisions you make, whether a vote in the ballot box or making a new hire represent your ontology whether you are aware of it or not. But, if you’re able to understand your ontology, you’ll discover a better process toward making efficient and productive decisions in your line of work.

 

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