A very good friend and client recently discussed his aspiration of branding a former employee who has become a new associate as she started her own company. With “branding” he meant giving her assistance in developing a personal professional look and supporting this image with an appropriate company logo, business cards, stationery and office furnishing which would create the right image of professionalism. To my mind all this reflects a traditional approach. Branding goes much deeper than this.
Branding as it is understood in the 21st century starts with a person being a brand. It is not an image which one creates but a reality.
You are your brand. This means that you should analyse who you are, what your strengths are, ensuring that you create value based on your strengths and then, of course, actually offering something of value to the buyer. The total package is a brand and a brand delivers a promise and a reality.
You could add a few visual trimmings like being presentable but the essence of a brand is you. Who are you and what value do you offer? In fact, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to attach meaning to appearances. Successful entrepreneurs often look exactly like many of their clients: neat shirt, clean jeans and very few visible indications of profession or success.
It’s nowadays often difficult to see a brand, you have to experience it.
In a very real sense this is also the New Marketing approach. Do not start by creating a marketing campaign for your company or organisation. Firstly create a company (and products and services) worth marketing. You and your people, your company, products and service together represent a promise. The promise is that you will heed the emotional needs of your client or customer, that you will produce products and services of an obviously high standard, that you will treat the client (or customer) in a respectful and appropriate manner and that you provide a real reason for a continued relationship and support benefitting the client.
All of this successfully executed establishes a brand. The question then simply is one of delivering on brand. If you deliver off-brand you fail your promise.
The test lies in the delivery of value and not in the image. Should you succeed in delivering value time and again your logo and all visible and intangible associations with you become part of a recognizable brand. Seeing your logo or hearing your name will trigger positive recognition and associations.
A brand consisting of an image created by an agency might be hollow. Get substance into place first. And ensure that the image markets the substance.
What do you think?
Albertkeywords: brand, creating value, new marketing, organisation