DISCLAIMER: Every once in awhile, we cover “Elements of Internet Marketing” and why they are important for everyone to be aware or reminded of. Some of these topics are not new, but they are very important to consumers and service providers to repeatedly encounter and understand. Today’s “Element” is related to the topic of "BrandYou". Enjoy!
BrandYOU! Yes, this is a very important topic. I am glad to be writing about it “on demand.” I have covered this topic many, many times within my articles. But, this topic is the most important one that we can ever cover. The reason behind that is that whether you represent a brand or ARE the brand, BRANDYOU can play a major part in your success… “strike that, erase it.” It will definitely play a major part in your success. BrandYOU isn’t just about Branding. It isn’t even anything to do with Internet Marketing, but it can be. And, that is the problem. But, it is also the greatest thing that could ever happen! That is why it is so important to understand BrandYOU inside and out.
Have you ever heard that you need to eat, sleep and dream your business in order to see it take form? Have you ever considered the fact that YOU are a business? After all, don’t you file taxes? Do you file as an individual, independent contractor, sole proprietor or board member? If you said yes, then technically you just proved that you ARE a business, whether you use your own entity, fictitious name or work for someone else’s brand. The truth is, all of these are brands, And the truth is, you are getting paid to represent that brand. As a matter of fact, you are responsible to pay taxes because that brand is alive! Isn’t that interesting? So, wouldn’t it be in your best interest to keep THOSE interests at the ultimate peak high point at all times? After all, YOU are investing so much time into the brand and then paying taxes on that time that can never be replaced.
In considering this scenario, one should remember a few things about businesses:
- First impressions are everything.
- Quality customer service needs to be maintained.
- Reviews and Testimonials can sway the opinions of those who seek to know about a POTENTIAL service provider.
- Competitors exist and work against competitor brands.
- What will you do to protect your brand? What will you do to keep the reputation of the brand satisfactory to clients and community?
The obvious first step in BrandYou is always to be on your best behaviour. This doesn’t mean that you can’t show your opinion. But, it means to act upon how you would like to be perceived. If your brand represents THIS, then you can display THIS in your actions. I had a conversation with another business owner recently. The conversation was based around her recent activity on Facebook. She tried to apologize for the “recent racy content.” What she didn’t realize, however, that showing a public interest in a subject based upon her role in the community of her target audience will actually allow her brand to be received as a trustworthy persona and build a lasting brand loyalty that will lead to a long enduring tenure of that brand.
It basically all boils down to this: CATER TO YOUR AUDIENCES. If you want to be perceived as an individual for hire, then portray the ideal characteristics of the ultimate employee. If you are a business, tend to your community of followers and those that you want to target in “giving them what they want” and do not give them a reason to think otherwise. This means to be consistent, persistent and show interest in that particular characteristic.
Like in previous blogs, I would like you to think of a respectable business person, public figure or entertainer. They all have something about them that stands out, correct? This is something that is over emphasized in creating a character perception of them. Now, look at those characteristics that aren’t “front row and center” in their persona. These characteristics do not conflict with the public perception of that brand. Contradictory elements will keep that brand from being accepted, in turn they will more than likely remain unsuccessful.
Think of an artist that may be perceived as a “thug” or “boss.” To find out that they were once on the opposite side of the law and never really this “thug” or “boss,” we change our persona of that artist. True fans will stay loyal. Those are those who really have learned to love the brand’s product and really could care less. But, others have lost respect for that artist. This leads to lower ROIs and less money in our bank accounts.
Keeping realism with your brand or YOU as an individual (BrandYou) and implementing the archetype you have selected for it, you will keep anyone from doubting your mission, vision or even track record. Which means, more often what you say will be taken at face value, respected and believed. If you go slightly off track, we know something is wrong. If you go “left” in your action, we start speculating, assuming and looking for discrepancy in ALL actions and statements made by your brand.
It all really boils down to the ethics of your brand, professionalism and catering to your audiences. As long as you can be perceived as professional, you are entitled to your opinion. If you feel you will offend someone, start by giving a disclosure and allowing them to understand your point or opinion… how you have gotten to this ideal or interest. If it is a fellow business person, they more than likely will understand already. As a matter of fact, they may reach out to you in liasing to these markets in cross promotion or future campaigns. They may just send you business or point you in the direction of that business, especially since you may not be competition due to the catering of different audience types. Stay true to yourself, your brand, and consistency. You will be fine!