Branding. You hear the term all over the place lately. Corporate Brand. Business Brand. Your Personal Brand. So, why all the buzz about branding and what does it mean for your future and your business?
Brands are part of our everyday lives. Many brands cross cultures and continents, some are unique to certain countries or even regions. For us here in the U.S., what comes to mind when I say tissue? How about “Just Do It” or adhesive bandage? Kleenex. Nike. Band-Aid.
That’s corporate branding and it’s mostly been brought to us through television, backed up by every kind of media – print, radio, billboards, you name it. I bet if you start thinking about it, you know slogans and jingles for corporate brands as well as you know some of your favorite songs or the national anthem. That’s branding. Burning an identity into our collective consciousness so that the brand has credibility, personality, and the power to make us want it, buy it, use it, buy it again – and best of all: recommend it.
Branding is the visual, emotional, rational, and cultural image that you associate with a company or a product. Your business has a brand. It’s the sum of everything your organization is, says, and does. You have a brand. It’s your personality, your beliefs, the way you move in the world and present yourself to others. You’ll be reading and hearing more and more about your personal brand this year – how to create it, how to market it, how to use it to identify yourself now and into the future. It’s no longer just for the rich and famous. And, that’s good news for the rest of us!
Branding and brand consistency are critical. Branding is how you become known and identified. Social media has changed the branding game. You can build your own empire based on your branding and your brand can be whatever you choose. Maybe it’s your personality or your humor combined with your product or service offering and how it stands out. If you don’t know what makes you stand out, work on your Unique Selling Proposition – read my article: http://amyposner.com/your-unique-selling-propostion.html
Maybe it’s the quality of service or product you deliver. Maybe you stand for being on time at the best price. Maybe you’re about being on time and charging a premium for it – but you’re worth it and people pay for your reliability and consistency.
Here’s a branding example. The CEO of the online shoe store Zappos is committed to killer customer service. That’s what their brand is built on. It translates into everything they do and the experience you have with their company. Shipping? Free. Return shipping? Free. Have a problem? Call their customer service department and you speak with people empowered to help you, to get the problem solved – not just a phone jockey whose goal is to get off the phone as soon as they possibly can. Their brand speaks volumes – it represents their corporate culture.
Gary Vaynerchuck, renowned entrepreneur (find him at winelibrary.com) is a great example of a personal brand. He’s funny, he’s charismatic, his personality is bigger than life. He’s a straight shooter – he tells it likes it is – some people would call him in-your-face. Some people don’t like him, or follow him because his personality style turns them off. A lot of us like him and trust and respect him. He’s fun, he’s entertaining, he doesn’t pull any punches. He’s the real deal and he’s built a personal brand so strong that now part of what he does is teaches people how to build their personal brand. And, his store Wine Library is in my home town – I’m just sayin’…..
What is your brand? What could it be? How can it set you apart? What would you really love it to be? However you engineer it and position yourself, you want this to be something you’re going to enjoy building and developing. It should be fun and really express who you are. You might feel intimidated – uncertain if you have something to say that’s unique and authentic. You do. Your DNA is yours alone, and we all have something worth saying and worth listening to. Read Gary Vaynerchuck’s book Crush It! to really drill down on your personal brand. It’s a great book, and unlike some others of its’genre, this one motivates and inspires and makes you certain you’ve got what it takes. Build your brand, and look for some great resources coming your way soon.