February 6, 2007
Liz published this at 10:01 am
Your Unique Brand Identity
People talk to other people about other people, products, and companies.
What we say to each other about what we like —
- the other people, products, and companies we champion and warn folks about,
- the other people, products, and companies we hold up as models and that we boycott
- the other people, products, and companies we don’t ever mention, i.e. that we make invisible,
— becomes the brands that define the other people, products, and companies we talk about. Not one voice, but many voices form a brand. The branding voices come not from the ones who wear the brand from the ones who interact with them.
Everyone has brand.
Your brand may be as simple as You are unknown.
Not everyone has a unique and positive brand identity.
A Tagline Is Not a Brand
Some folks seem to think that putting a tagline on their business, their product, or their blog establishes their brand. Would that it were so easy.
A unique and positive brand identity is a concise, consistent, compelling message that conveys your unique value. It arrives before you and lingers after you’re gone. It describes you, defines you, and develops positive interest in you. It’s very definition of you weeds out people with whom you prefer not to interact.
This following statement is key.
A tagline is not a brand. It’s a suggestion for folks to start thinking about your brand.
These key assumptions underpin the ability to establish a positive brand.
- Start by knowing that other people decide what they think about you.
- Realize that their perceptions will be their reality.
- Know that most people fit you into THEIR world view.
Knowing that our role in a branding strategy is to provide the unique and compelling reasons and the outstanding examples folks need to naturally want to share. In other words, as Seth would say, “It’s about being remarkable.”
A tagline is just words. A brand is actions that people talk about.
How to Build a Positive Brand in 3 Steps
Because customers are the branders, it makes sense that they should be the center of any branding effort. Customers at the center means that they get to talk. We get to actively listen. If we’re fixing a broken brand, we get to spend even more time with them while we’re listening, because they’ll need to hear our apology.
Step 1 — Listen to Your Branders
The first step is to find out what folks already think. Focus on the people — to know their needs, desires, and pains — and to find the one thing you might do to serve them better than anyone else can. Here’s how to do that.
- Find your branders. Find the folks who talk about you. Find those who say both positive and negative things. Find the folks who don’t know who you are. Ask permission to talk to them.
- Talk to them as much and as often as you can. Be a learner. Explore their thinking with them. Use it all to identify what skills you have to offer.
- Listen actively to what they are not saying as well. Find their unexpressed needs and desires. Look for their points of pain. Look for solutions that you might be able to offer.
Gather all you’ve learned from your branders. Reflect on how it matches your unique skill set and your personal passions.
Step 2 — A Promise that You Put Others First
Use what you’ve gathered to write a customer-centered tagline to say you . . .
Do what you love in service to those who love what you do Steve Farber says.
Think of your tagline as a promise.
Not: The oldest bank in the Western Hemisphere.
But: Your bank, when you’re available, with your interest at heart.
Step 3 — Live Your Promise
Live your promise. Be your brand 100%. Actions speak. People tell more stories about what happens than they do about what they’ve read. Positive actions that meet people’s needs speak loudly and are shared with friends.
Have you heard stories about the great things that these two do? I’ve told a few myself.
- Phil Gerbyshak IS a Relationship Geek, who Makes it Great!
- Wendy Piersall is a successful home-based e-business mom.
Phil or Wendy live their unique brands. No need to try to live theirs, yours is just as uniquely compelling and just as important to the world.
Successful-Blog is where you’re only a stranger once.
After that, you’re a friend.
–ME “Liz” Strauss”
To have Liz help get your brand just right, click on the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.