Your Brand is YOU; Your Branding is YOU in Action
By Deborah Shane on August 25, 2011
Your Brand is YOU, Your Branding is YOU in Action
In the first part of our five part brand power series, 3 Keys to a Brand That Stands Out, we established the overall idea that “you make a stand with your brand, when you put your stake in the space and build out your tribe and community”.
No matter what you do today: blogger, entrepreneur, small business owner, or a business of one, establishing a clear brand and branding that represents who you are, what you do, what differentiates you and how you will build longevity in the particular niche or space you choose is essential to your success. We are all tasked today with building and serving our communities.
There is a distinct difference between your “brand” and your “branding”, but they are inter-related and mutually dependant. The brand comes first. Who you are, what you do and whom you serve.
On my cross country flight home from the Blogher11 conference, I was thinking about how many diverse people I met. Many of them had a clear, defined niche, but many didn’t. I ran a session in The Geek Bar this year about “How to Create and Host a Killer Radio Show Podcast” and one of the questions on the work sheet I handed out was what is your niche and what are four content areas you would cover for a weekly radio podcast over the course of four weeks?
I heard a lot of general answers about ‘Mommy Bloggers’, which is wonderful and important, but what specifically do you write about in that: divorce, health and fitness, being a single Mom, special needs children, being a vegan family? The women that were very clear about their blog’s brand and content I remembered because of their brand clarity.
“Your brand is YOU: who you are what you do, what you stand for, your DNA personality”.
Think of your brand as a ‘tangible artifact’, which you create into a memorable image that lives in the minds of people that you interact with you and come to know you. Some examples that come to mind from actual people I met are a postpartum depression blogger, mom to be blogger, a coupon savings blogger, a photography blogger. You get my point.
What is your particular specialty, stand out personality and personal X, that when people mention your name it is naturally associated with you? What do you want to be known for and how do you want people to remember you?
Some examples of personal brand names that have a distinct association with them are Susan B Anthony, Lady Gaga, Mark Zuckerberg, Mother Theresa, Hillary Clinton, and Katherine Hepburn.
“Your branding is everything that YOU DO, your brand in action, that creates the attention to and associations with you. It’s how you put yourself out there and the message you deliver.
This includes your values, attitudes and beliefs”.
Do you have and engage in a website, blog, email marketing, community involvement, collaborations, social marketing platforms, sponsorships, professional associations? What are the things that you/your company do that people will associate with your brand? How do you deliver your brand and its message?
Some examples I like are the Milton Hershey School, established in 1909, Dove’s Campaign For Beauty and Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Olympics. These alignments all represents the core values and “why” of these brands. Regular engagement on the social marketing platforms Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, Blogging are integral marketing activities today for any brand big or small. One of the must have platforms is LinkedIn, the professional platform that people will use along with Google to find out about you.
I recently discovered a brand website called www.rankingthebrands.com, which lists and profiles some of the most trusted, popular, core power brands that are out there today. We forget that not only is the actual product important, but how the company gives back and pays it forward is equally important to consumer loyalty today.
Here are some key benefits that your brand and branding deliver to help you and your business stand out, get noticed and recommended.
Your calling card, piece of real estate, your stake and place in the space.
A great way to make a unique footprint and imprint.
A way to tell your story and demonstrate what you do.
The way people remember, recall, refer and recommend you.
The single most important way to establish your credibility, authority and niche.
Sam Walton wanted Wal-Mart to be remembered for saving people money, so they could live better. Milton Hershey wanted to open new doors and opportunities for children in need.
Deborah Shane wants to be known as someone who cares deeply about helping people navigate career change and succeed in their entrepreneurship and businesses.
Here’s the new 2011 Forbes Top 100 Entrepreneurial Websites for Women. There are some real stand out examples here of bold brands and outstanding branding. Get some ideas and see who stands out for you.
Maybe one of your brand goals will be to be on this list next year?