Two Important Ideas
A brand identity defines our unique value — what we bring that no one else can — by naming the one thing we do far better than anyone else. Uniqueness and specificity are the two messages in one Big IDEA.
If we name the one thing that we want to be known for, and we live it 24/7, customers notice that. By choosing only one thing our message is clean, clear, and focused. Choosing one thing doesn’t limit. As Seth would say, “Small is the new big.” Highlighting only one thing gives focus. Folks extrapolate from that.
That’s the key to successful branding, unique value, specificity, and living it 24/7. Of course, the last part can be a problem.
Honey, Don’t Make Me Live My Brand
When I tell a story, I like to elaborate. It’s a writer’s thing, at least I think it is. My husband prefers to deal in basics. It’s an engineer’s thing, at least he says it is. So when I begin to relate an event, it doesn’t surprise me when I hear, “Honey, don’t make me live it.”
That request works for my husband and my stories — not for a brand.
Much as we’d like to, we don’t get to pick what we’re known for. We only get to suggest our finer traits. But if we live what we’re suggesting other folks are more likely to agree with us. Other folks and brands can’t be separated. The minute we leave other folks out of the picture, we stop living our brand.
People have a way of letting us know we forgot to consider them. They do that by redefining what they think of us and telling each other the new definition. Here are some ways I have forgotten to live my brand in the past.
- I fell in love with the details. I thought every detail of what I did was important to everybody. That breaks the “one thing well rule.”
- I thought my history was important. Most folks weren’t alive for my history. Folks care about what I deliver now. My “unique value” is based in current time not history.
- I tried to be something I’m not. No unique value there. That’s just a bad facsimile.
- I tried to be all things to all readers. No specificity there. That’s a sitcom done badly.
- I didn’t define what the one thing is that I do well. I was confused and so were my readers. Moving targets only stay interesting for a short while. Then our eyes get tired.
- I thought that my brand was obvious. If I don’t say what I’m about why should anyone know?
- I made all of my decisions to serve ME.
I can count the holes in my foot the times I’ve shot myself there.
Customers decide our brands, we don’t.
If we choose a brand that fully expresses who we are, living it 24/7 is nothing more than being ourselves and sharing that one unique, outstanding quality that defines us. People will notice. People will talk about it.
That’s the cool thing about being you. You have a corner on how to do it better than anyone else.
What one thing do you feature as the one thing that you do well? Come on out with it. Write it down for everyone to see.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
To have Liz help get your brand just right, click on the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
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