Brands are basically the way you portray yourself (this applies to individuals and organisation). They’re also the way people see or understand you to be. Your brand is basically the persona built by a combination of what show as what people generally perceive as who or what you are.
I’ve written about branding a little ;-) As people and organizations, we want to project ourselves in a way that we want to be identified and loved for whatever end we have in mind.
I’m not against brand promotion (whatever that is), however, I’m about being truthful in how we project who we are what we aspire to be.
There’s a craze to find the holy grail of branding. The silver bullet is nothing but a myth. There are no three keys or seven ways to… or whatever… When bloggers and authors try to make it sound like it is only their strategy or ways that makes things happen, they lie.
There’s always a factor that is either unaccounted or not fully accounted for. Something misinterpreted due to being misunderstood. I’m not saying they’re wrong with some of the things they put forward. I’m saying they don’t have perfect knowledge or wisdom, applicable as is across the board.
Understanding context is often the differentiator when it comes to applying anything else someone has done elsewhere. Sometimes even the geniuses get it wrong when the environment and other variables change.
Thus the thought I’m about to share on the best way to brand oneself is not comprehensive. It can be one of many keys in a larger strategy. Here it goes:
One of the best ways to brand yourself on the Internet is to BLOG. And here’s why I think so:
To employ analogies… A blog is like home. Other social media platforms are coffee shops where you occasionally hang out. You may frequent them with friends etc. If you think about it, those you have the best relationships with are those you sit around a table with in your home(s).
Those are people you invite into a space somewhat sacred to you. Blogs are home. The place you have conversation and interaction that transcends the limitations of coffee shops or café. There are no closing times and no one is in charge but you when it comes to your home.
I know some brands that delete their YouTube videos after each campaign, so that they only have their most recent videos. Big mistake.
This is because blogs give a history, a sense of legacy. Deleting old videos or posts is like erasing memories that have helped make the relationships with the lives your brand touches. Think carefully before hard resets of that nature.
Check out the follow up post here.
Your brand or organisation’s reputation is integral to its fate. I’ve written about how your “products”, whatever they are, are critical components for a healthy reputation. In the mix are leaders.
Leaders have the responsibility to not only express and embody their enterprise’s brand to those they lead, in their enterprise, but also to the world. Leaders are the primary ambassadors of your organisation’s brand(s). Teams and organisations, as a whole, get their cues on how to interact and project brands from the leaders.
Potential loyalists and loyalists get their cues on how to interpret and interact with the brand from its leaders. Some will be skeptical if the leader doesn’t use what he manufactures.
Take Alicia Keys’ case as an example. In a bid to rejuvenate the Blackberry brand, Alicia Keys was contracted as the brand’s ambassador. The problem: she was tweeting from her iPhone how great Blackberry was. Some people, noticed, as they usually do…
If your brand and your “products” are that great, why should someone else and not you, the leader of the brand, not use them?
Somehow, the reputation of the leaders impacts their organisations. Bad character on the account of the leader often taints how the brands their represent are perceived.
The leaders’ platforms matter. How they build them impacts more than just themselves.
Criticism is inevitable. Leaders must be careful not to respond to everything leveled against them or their brand. Not everything deserves leaders’ attention. However, there are instance where they need to speak out or “hit back”.
Leaders must constantly assess the threat to brand reputation. This could be complaints from beneficiaries. It could be misplaced allegations. Instances where the brand or organisation have messed up.
When your organisations messes up, fess up. Own where you are wrong and make it right. It saves and serves you better than denial and lying.
Leaders are responsible for epitomising their brands and reputation. How they conduct themselves directly impacts their organisations’ reputation. They have to always assess threats to their reputation and be proactive to protect it.
Leaders: Brand Reputation Lines of Offence And Defence. Lead.
[Photo Credit: daryl_mitchel]
I think this makes for a great case study about how artists manage their work as well as how brands protect their reputation. Euodia Roets of Touchee Feele says she was in discussions with Woolworths South Africa about some design work.
You can check out Euodia’s allegations here
Woolworths, eventually didn’t take her designs, but according to Euodia, they kept her work in the form of samples. A few months later Euodia says she found cushions in Woolworths’ stores that were very close to the work and samples she submitted to them.
This is Woolworths’ response to Euodia’s allegations.
I’m not concerned about who is right or wrong, per se, but what I would do if I were Touchee Feele (Euodia’s company) and Woolworths.
I like Woolworths. Liking them does not make the perfect. In the same vein I don’t suggest that Touchee Feele was right or wrong.
My discussions are not about who’s right or wrong or slamming anyone for what they did or may have not done but what I would do if I were either party.
Why did Woolworths request samples for something similar to what they had already commissioned?
— Woolworths SA (@WOOLWORTHS_SA) October 19, 2013
One of the most important take-aways from this ordeal is that brands and artists or designers must have some sort of agreements to protect either party from such.
I strongly believe that business should be done in integrity and in a way that benefits everyone. While this may be subjective, I do believe that people know when they’re crossing lines or when lines are blurred.
I’d like to know. What would you do if you were Touchee Feelee? What would you do if you were Woolworths?