Whether you’re building an empire or a personal brand, you want to create something people can connect with. In order to do that, you and your audience (or clients and customers) first need to agree on what your brand is. That might sound self-evident, but in her discussion on branding at BlogHer Health19, Camille Washington, manager of brand engagement at FedEx, cited a striking statistic from a Fortune study — only 15 percent of professionals who’ve defined their brand could accurately predict how people perceived it.
It’s an eye-opening data point that Washington shared to show how building a brand is an ongoing process. “A strong brand is not a product or a logo or an advertising campaign. It is very much a connection. It’s a relationship that is built over thousands, if not millions, of interactions you have,” Washington said. “It is important that you have meaningful relationships and interactions.”
A good goal, yes, but how do you apply this to your own brand? According to Washington, the answer lies in managing your brand intentionally. Below is her five-step plan for doing just that.
1. Start by establishing your brand. Describe your brand in three words. Then ask people familiar with your brand to describe it. If those words don’t align, make changes — to your words or your brand — accordingly.
2. Develop style elements — voice, visual identity — that uniquely identify your brand.
3. Go beyond the average business transaction to create a meaningful consumer experience, both online and in person.
4. Share personal stories. People get engaged with a great story; once they’re engaged, they’ll come back for more.
5. Build a strong culture. This is essential if you have employees, but it all starts with you. Be authentic and live out your brand’s values in every professional interaction.
Check out Washington’s spotlight talk — and other BlogHer Health19 segments — in its entirety.