Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
If you were an Easter egg …what sort would you be? Exotic, flavoured chocolate? Or perhaps something small and cheap and popular?
If you were a car, what would you be? Maybe we are already driving the car we would be, because we have already made a choice that fits with our view on the world.
We are all our own brand.
When we visit a client, apply for a job, or deliver a piece of work, we need to make sure we are on-brand. We need to be consistent.
When I’m working with a business I often ask the senior manager to describe their brand and generally the answer I get is:
“Well here at XYZ Inc our brand is to be high quality and affordable, experts in our field, approachable, flexible in our outlook and of course we value people. We value our clients and our staff. We go the extra mile. We deliver. We are fun too and we like to think of ourselves as creative. We can provide you with a boilerplate package or a bespoke one. Did I mention we value people? We love people!”
And so on.
A brand has to be clear and concise. We can’t be everything to all people all the time and yet many businesses try to do just that and end up in a muddle.
We need to be clear on what we do and what we don’t do.
Take people, for example. My view is that often the ‘we value our people’ bit is stuck on at the end, to make sure all bases are covered. But what does it really mean? How are people valued? Do they all have equal pay structures, promotion prospects and development options?
Does the dress code discriminate against men? (Can they wear shorts in warmer weather, when ladies can wear cool Summer dresses?)
Does the big boss get the best laptop, whereas the junior who really needs it is left with a second hand low-spec unit?
A brand isn’t something we strap on before going into a sales meeting, like a knight getting ready for a joust.
We have to live our brand values and, as the word implies, make sure the brand is burned into the organisation.
So then, when we think about ourselves as a brand, what is the essence of what we do and how we do it?
Do our clothes and car and demeanour and response time to enquiries all line up to reinforce our brand?
Do our Facebook posts make us look professional, or petulant?
Could a client quote our brand values back to us?
What made me think about brand was that recently I wore a different watch to a client day. Instead of my usual Mondaine (Swiss Railway watch) I had a Casio (black plastic watch) and at the end of the session the client commented.
Whilst they were simply being polite, they did obviously feel a need to notice the change. This reminded me that my usual watch (reliable, stylish, unusual) was the essence of my brand and to change it meant projecting different values (cheap, reliable, mass produced).
I was off message and all I’d done was wear a different watch.
I like my Casio and I need to remember that my Mondaine has become part of my brand.
Tell me about your watch? (Or car, or Easter egg!)
Next week: The Quiet Mic Story
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