Everybody in business needs to have a clearly-defined brand and seek to actively and positively create and develop their brand.
Have you ever listened to that song by Erykah Badu, I am not my hair? Well, the title may sound ridiculous and your response may be to consider her statement entirely obvious, but the meaning is deeper than that surface response. She truly meant, there’s more to me than what you first see. I’m not defined by society or who you think a woman – a black woman – is or ought to be. I am more than a singer. I am more than an artist. I am undefinable. Get to know me.
Erykah sought to, in one way or another, change her brand from what it may originally have been to something new that truly fit the change that she was seeing and becoming. What better way to shape and develop your brand than in song – the medium of her service to the world?
When I think of that song, I think of breaking free from predefined constraints. I think of creating and developing a ‘brand’ that is the true, authentic extension of you – you in your entirety.
A brand is a mark; it identifies a product, company or professional entity, yet now with the ubiquity of social media, everybody – whether s/he wants to be or not – eventually becomes a personal brand. But in this post, I’m talking specifically about elite athletes and the brands they become and develop. Think of Jessica Ennis-Hill or Usain Bolt, for example. They can be defined as imperious, champion-performers. And that is surely why so many companies want to align themselves with them. When you think of the Virgin brand created by Richard Branson you may think: lifestyle, worldwide , high quality. And Nivea I associate with: body & face, beauty, moisturising.
Remember: A personal brand is only how the world perceives that person based on opinions, facts, actions, behaviours and words revealed publicly. A personal brand therefore is ironically impersonal when defined in such terms, but the reality is that only a handful of people truly know that elite athlete beyond the brand they present to the world. Thankfully, just as I am more than an athlete, so too are top performers more than their personal brand. Similarly, unless you use a Virgin product or service or a Nivea product, you can only define its brand based on hear-say or advertisement. Personal experience is the most powerful factor therefore when discovering the unique quirks, likes and dislikes of a brand personality, product or service.
So how can you get people to connect with you personally to truly know your brand? How do you positively create and develop your brand?
I hate ending on a cliff-hanger so I’ll leave you with one simple tip that I believe is a great way to help consumers engage in a personal experience with your product or service – your brand:
Use Social Media. Post on Instagram stories and on the feed. Use Snapchat and Twitter. Be silly. Be serious. Don’t just show the good; show the bad times as well. Show both sides of the story. Show every side of your business – the growth and success, the challenges and the times when you feel you’re back-pedalling. I know that for me personally, as a consumer of a product or service, being able to read in autobiographies or see on their social media the truth and authentic responses to adversity and success of successful people who have established successful brands draws me even closer to them and the brand. Hopefully following this tip will elicit the same response from your customers too. Let me know…
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Creating and developing your brand.