Way back during my college years, I attended a seminar about branding. The speaker told us to imagine a company we were familiar with, even fans of. I probably came up with something like Coca-Cola, I bet. We were asked to imagine: if that brand was a person, who would they be? A man? A woman? Would they be young or old, active or a homebody? How would they dress? How would they speak?
Of course we all thought of a wide range companies, and we created different characters. But if we all had imagined the same well-known company, a very clear pattern would surely emerge within the audience. Still using Coca-Cola as an example, the person we would collectively imagine be a man or woman, but likely a young, connected-to-the-world, creative, stylish individual with a distinct personality and a fun job. To put it simply, Coca-Cola would be someone cool.
The power and reason behind branding is to create a perception, a feeling, an intangible experience that remains with the customers even after the transaction between company and consumer has been completed. It’s like when you meet an actual person, and how that person makes you feel: the brand is the personality of the company, including the look, the voice, and emotion it incites.
This gives strategic grounds to how you can use your brand to relate your company to your customers on a personal level. The secret to unlock this tool is to have a very clear understanding of precisely who is your brand. For example: if Coca-Cola showed up as a different persona every time a new commercial came out, the consumer would receive mixed messages and be confused, which would lead to lack of trust. By being extremely consistent with their branding, always showing up as that cool person, the collective imagination of its persona is, within small degrees of variation, the same to most people.
Now let’s bring this into the entrepreneurial world. If you own a small company (especially if you work as a solopreneur), branding is what lingers in the room after you exit. Think about that.
When you go somewhere, introduce yourself and hand out your business card, what do people, think, feel and say after you leave?
This is a step beyond an impression. This is something you can be strategic about, being intentional so to become a walking brand for your company. It also applies to your employees – from the way the phone is answered to how a new customer is thanked for choosing your bid over a competitor’s.
Behind every interaction, be it between two large corporations or small startup businesses, there is a person (or a team of people) with actual feelings, fears, aspirations, challenges and expectations, and this person will think of you. And how do you make people feel? If they imagined your company and your brand, in that seminar I attended as an undergrad, how would they image and describe you?
Laine Torres helps busy moms plan a fun photo session for the entire family, including what to wear, where to shoot and even how to pose. As a full-service professional photographer, she provides her clients with an unique experience that results in gorgeous gallery-quality photo products that are meant to be enjoyed for many generations. With a fun and laid-back personality, Laine injects herself fully into her brand, attracting people who do not hesitate to enjoy life’s greatest moments.