What do you REALLY do?
If you’re a book publisher, you’re not really in the book business. You’re in the information business. How that information is shared is largely irrelevant, as long as it creates value for your customers and can be monetized.
If you’re a newspaper, you’re definitely not in the printed news business. Certainly not anymore, or at least not for long. I read The Seattle Times more now than ever, but I don’t get ink on my fingers. I read it online, and read some of their bloggers multiple times a day. Competing in the category of news will be difficult (or at least highly competitive) for newspapers moving forward. But the opportunity to synethize large piles of complicated information into something that’s understandable, relevant and actionable for me? That has value.
PR agencies shouldn’t be selling access to the press. They shouldn’t put focus on press clippings or media tours. They sell awareness, consideration and purchase intent for their clients. That has value.
Of course, Starbucks isn’t in the coffee business. They’re selling affordable luxuries. Yes, they’ve had missteps along the way, but they know the physical assets they’re selling doesn’t equal what they really do.
Smart companies and brands define themselves not by what they produce, but by what that asset creates and/or enables for the customer.
Take what you do, for example. Keep asking the question "why does that matter" or "why would someone need that" or "why do my customers care about that" until you can’t anymore. The last answer you had? That’s what you do.