The Key Reasons Why You Need To Brand
Angelina Jolie (Actress and Humanitarian), Oprah (the Queen of Daytime TV) and Rihanna (Pop Star). These three famous women have names like everyone else has a name, yet when you say their names, it carries a story, history and gives context to it.
This is what branding is all about; when a name is mentioned it triggers certain emotions and impressions in the mind of the customer or the general public from their encounter with that brand. More than a logo or icon, your brand, whether it is a personal brand or company brand, is what people think of first when they hear your (the) name.
To give a simple definition of branding and what is a brand; a brand is something intangible, it cannot be seen; it only exists in someone else’s mind. While we use fancy dresses and accessories like logos, packaging and other collateral material to add visual context and create a certain perception of our brand, these things alone are not a brand.
So what is a brand and why does every person and business need one, even though you may not be famous or insta-famous? Why are companies spending thousands and even millions of dollars to create or recreate the desired perception? Why should you care about building one?
One of my favorite definitions of a brand is by Seth Godin – Author of Linchpin who says that “a brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, co-worker, client, etc.) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.
When someone says your name “what comes to their mind?” Who do you want to be and what do you want to be known for? If you don’t clearly define the story you want people to say, they will define it and tell it to you. You have the power to shape and reshape the market’s perception of your brand, the way you want the story to be told.
Telling a good story and building a strong relationship with desirable memories will set your brand apart. But what I love about this definition, is its consideration of one of the most compelling reasons why you need to focus on building a brand; brands can charge premium prices (whether its a salary negotiation or products and services).
If you are not a brand, then you are just a commodity, another “me too” in the race. Your key armor of defense without a brand is priced and there is always someone willing to make a lower profit.
The expectation and story aspect of a brand, plays a key role in a brand’s ability to charge premium prices. Let’s look at a movie example, if George Clooney is staring in a film, the producers would expect that it would be a box office hit, because George Clooney also understands his ability to drive up cinema sales, he can charge more than other less know actors (brand). If you set high standards and deliver on them, people will have little hesitation in paying what you ask.
Another reason why you should focus on building a brand, is that like minded people, ideal customers and game-changing opportunities you desire will find and gravitate to you more easily. Think about, certain personalities are attracted to people, products and services that match their ideals and lifestyle.
Lady Gaga personifies the Versace ideal, Kiara Knightly has the feminine, sexy yet a modern woman in control sensibility that is Chanel Mademoiselle. Women who identify with these two different personalities may be attracted to the brands they represent.
Finally, having a brand will differentiate you from a sea of “me too” products and services. It can transform an ordinary person into someone extraordinary and that is powerful. These attributes play a key role in increasing demand and driving up sales and value. So, should you invest in building a brand?
The answer is yes, only if you desire to differentiate yourself, products and services, earn a higher value and build a loyal following.