Forget about the mirror, it’s how others see you — Branding
WHAT’S A BRAND?
Brand guru, Robert Bean, defines a brand as a “promise delivered.”
- Is it a name?
- A tagline?
- A logo?
- A company’s identity?
- A distillation of ideas around who, what, why, where, when of the company?
- A company’s mission?
- Can a person have a brand?
Some say a brand is what people say about you behind your back. Which comes first, what you say about yourself or what others say about you? How do you encapsulate what you’re all about in as few words as possible, with as simple an image as possible, and yet communicate a message that has both depth and breadth?
I’ve written mission statements. I’ve created inspiration boards. I’ve asked my clients why they hire me. I’ve heard how they perceive my voice. Once upon a time (this is true), I was told to dye my hair to get rid of the grays, so that my look would match the sound of my voice — “You don’t sound old, so you shouldn’t look it either.”
About the same time I was advised by someone else, to wear the colors of my brand (i.e. my website, business card, CD artwork, letterhead) so that regardless of the kind of contact I was making, the imagery would always have the same color branding. Taglines? I’ve had a few: From Artist in Resonance, to Your Words. My Voice., to my latest, Be Heard.
What is your signature voice? What does it communicate to the world? What kind of personality does your voice have?
- Young and hip
- Warm and sincere
- Clear and straightforward
- Friendly guy/gal next door
- Engaging storyteller
- Fun and quirky
Through self-reflection and exploration of how the world hears you, your unique sound should be branded. Doug Turkel is the “Unnouncer” because he sounds nothing like an announcer. Bob Souer is the “Professional Storyteller.” Their voices are archetypes and they’ve created branding that supports those strong ideas. Lisa Biggs has a tiny child’s voice in a woman’s body and is the “Biggest Little Voice.”
As for me, Debbie Irwin, I’m “Your Voice,” hence my new tagline “Be Heard.” Everyone has something to say, but not everyone knows how to say it. That’s where I come in. Not only do I study the script (words), I study the content (message) and your (the client) overall brand message to ensure that the whole message is delivered as if you were speaking yourself.
According to Mark McCulloch, of Spectacular Marketing, marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.
A couple of months ago I hired a young Integrated Marketing Communications intern to work with me in promoting my brand and me. First, he said, I had to clean up my act, because I had all kinds of pictures, and bios, and taglines and fonts spread across the Internet on a variety of sites.
We developed a plan to market my brand across a variety of social media platforms. Consistency of the message is one of the common threads — it’s look, feel and sound.
To give you a more in depth look at my rebranding and marketing process, he’ll be writing next week’s #Vonow blog post!
WHAT’S YOUR PROMISE?
Remember that, over time:
- Through consistent messaging you’ll achieve name recognition.
- Through consistent service you’ll deliver value.
- Through consistent quality you will receive respect.
- And all of these will build trust.
So how do people perceive you? What’s your brand? What’s your promise? Mine is quality. You can count on me for that. That’s a promise.