"Brand" is the PERSONALITY of your Business
Greeting Sales and Marketer!
Sales and marketing is about your CUSTOMER but branding is about YOU
Do you remember when, as a kid, how you used to IDOLIZE some of the older and "cooler" kids at school? While you were insecure and lacked confidence some boys and girls seemed to ooze personality and were as a result the center of attention wherever they went. Businesses in the "grown up" world operate exactly the same way with the same schoolyard mentality. The kings of industry seem to permeate and ooze a sense of INNOVATION and brilliance in term of strategy, timing and execution that the rest of us are sadly lacking for whatever reason. The aperture or lens through which we picture individuals is personality while that of businesses is called their BRAND
Selling Your Brand
BRANDS are exactly like personalities in an astounding number of ways and the more I thought about this concept the more I realized it deserves to be fleshed out in detail. The whole point of the schoolyard is for youngsters to socialize and get to know one another (while getting to know THEMSELVES). There are some people that you will like and others you will not. There are some with whom you share common traits and others who seem to be as different from you as can be. Along the way you begin to discover your own strengths and weaknesses and find out what you are really good at and what you like doing best (and with WHOM). In the schoolyard we are selling ourselves to our peers whereas in business the purpose of your branding efforts is to attract customers
Getting Others to Like You
This is really the name of the game in
life and in business. We achieve our aims and objectives with the help of others and therefore the more you can get others to like and/ or respect you, the better chances of success you have. Most sales and marketing professionals - as with most INDIVIDUALS - are supremely interested in the question of getting others to like you without paying much attention to it's corollary: who do YOU like (and respect)? Does it not make most sense to investigate that question first and then focus on simply CONNECTING with those who you like and who are prone to like you as well? Therefore, the first part of creating a successful branding strategy is to have an idea of what you target audience and customer should be like in terms of SHARED values and a shared mindset with the field you occupy
What is Your Business Personality?
Great advertising is often the quintessential way of expressing
brands. Memorable achievements in branding are brought to life by iconic figures like Ronald McDonald, the Michelin Man and the Marlborough Man. Bear in mind that, just like celebrities, these images and characters are caricatures and more or less figures of imagination. Similarly, your brand does not and perhaps SHOULD not be simply an extension of your own personality (although that is definitely an option). Rather, you should have in mind, once again, the lifestyle and values of the customers you hope to serve - will match your own values - and build a brand based around central character traits that you share with your customer target audience. Then, feel free to EMBELLISH and be creative; in the beginning your branding efforts may seem over-the-top but great marketing often does seem that way at first glance. It is only later that what you create becomes an accepted lasting legacy and a cultural icon
Your Brand Pervades Everything
everything to do with sales and marketing, ANYTHING about you says EVERYTHING about you. You can have the best product in the world but if your customer service and support team is not up to par, this will reflect on your overall business and damage your brand (and sales!). Similarly, everything about what you do that is perceived by the customer - from your storefront to website to business cards and overall presentation - says something about your business. If you consider yourself a quality business then an ethic of quality should pervade every single thing you do. If you consider yourself a customer-oriented business then everything from product design and development to after-market research should have in mind the goal of serving your customer (being a customer service organization does not just mean having a 24/7 toll-free number for customers to call!)
Branding is Not
Just about Logos
The last thing I want to say about branding is that it is NOT what most people think it is (surprise, surprise!). Branding and rebranding is not simply an exercise in contracting a swanky graphics marketing team come up with new fonts and logos and colours for your website and brochures. These kinds of things are merely COSMETIC and do not even scratch the surface of what a true exercise in branding should be. Rather, sit back and THINK about what your business MEANS: is it about having FUN or something serious? Is it about creating happy memories or getting the job done? What are you REALLY selling? It is not a product or service but an OUTCOME that is achieved through a certain state of MIND. That state of mind forms the core of your personality and therefore your brand. It is the launching point that you will then use to come up with brand themes, motifs and imagery that will build on and cement the core values that drive your industry and
Find out what who you are and want to REPRESENT - that is what branding is all about!
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