What is a brand?
How can you increase the value of your company? What can provide yourself or your employees with direction and motivation? What can help you acquire new customers or networks?
The simple answer: through your brand.
A brand represents the sum of people’s perception of you or your company’s customer service, reputation, advertising, and logo. In the case of your personal brand, how you present, what you look, sound and behave like are your logo and advertisement.
“One of the aspects of our lives we often forget, or where we can find ourselves at odds with our public image, is in our homes,” says Ruby Woman homewares business owner and stylist Anna Giannis.
“Our homes are a representation of ourselves and our lives. Homes are a body of emotion: they hold memories, experiences and adornments, many of which are symbolic of who we are in private. Stepping into someone’s home often provides an insight into who they really are.
“People can forget this part of their life but I believe if you are authentic and aligned with your personal brand then there are no missing pieces,” says Anna, which is why she says you need to think about what every part of your life says about you and, “always be authentic”.
When it comes to business, we can all provide examples of businesses that offer excellent products or services, but have a reputation for poor customer service tarnishing their brand.
To ensure your brand experience is strong, you need a plan – a strategic plan.
You need to think about your brand’s authenticity for others to understand what you stand for. Your brand helps you create clarity and helps people stay focussed and to do that effectively it needs to be authentic.
Creating an authentic personal brand you need to think about your strengths and potential contributions, and consider your passion and purpose. You also need to consider: Who needs to know this is who I am and what I stand for? And how am I going to reinforce this message with others?
Your brand needs to set you apart from the competition.
Your brand needs to be representative of you and your promise.
When it comes to your brand, creating an emotional connection is as important – maybe more - as being competent and skilled. For example: studies have found that most people think they would rather work with a “competent jerk” rather than a “loveable fool”, but it’s actually the opposite because emotional connection is so important.
Recognition is also important and strong branding promotes recognition. On a personal level or for your business, that means growing your visibility.
Another important aspect when it comes to building your brand and being innovative in business, says Kate Cooper, Westpac Director Innovation Services, “is think about what the customer is experiencing, what they need, what they want from you.”
In our recent Expert’s Angle on innovation in business webinar, Kate noted: “If you don’t know who you are, then how can you expect your customers to know who you are and what they need you for? Understanding your brand allows you to explore what you do, how you do it and to who. Brand knowledge allows you to uncover and take opportunities that help your customers and grow your business.”
One of Kate’s tips was to know your brand’s strengths: “Subjective and objective opinions about your strengths - and weaknesses - will help you discover who you are and what you believe in.”