Branding is something you’re likely familiar with. Most people think of logos and color schemes when it comes to branding, but it’s much more than that. Branding is really what people think of when they see your logo or hear your name.
Who Owns Your Brand?
The truth is, you don’t own your brand – your brand lives in the minds of everyone else. I’ll give you an example. If I said the name Trump to you five years ago, you probably would have thought “real estate, hair, The Apprentice, New York.” But if I say the word Trump to you today, your response will probably be “hair, President,” and everything else you think of will be related to your political views of Donald Trump, and those words could be extremely different. Trump doesn’t own his brand, we do.
Should I Just Stop Trying?
Just because your brand isn’t necessarily owned by you, that doesn’t mean you don’t have some control and influence over it. In fact, you have a lot of control and influence over your brand. It’s your actions that help form your brand’s image. If you hear about United Airlines, the image that comes to your mind today (April, 2017) is probably that of a semi-conscious man being dragged down the aisle of an airplane. You can bet that’s not what United wants you to think of – they want you to think of them in a positive light, “Fly the Friendly Skies!” But those two images don’t match, and that’s because United hasn’t done anything to make the skies feel friendly. There’s a long list of complaints about United, which is knowns for having a culture that treats their employees and passengers as nuisances. When that happens, the incident I described above is what happens. And no one was very surprised – outraged, sure, but surprised? Not so much. That’s because so many people have had terrible experiences on United, that this behavior isn’t out of character for them.
Branding is the Entire Package
Every single touch point that you have with a customer or potential customer affects our branding. When you develope a good, authentic relationship with your audience, they see it. We can tell the marketing garbage from the real thing. Giving something a shiny layer doesn’t change the fact that underneath it’s all rusted. If you own a restaurant, the people who interact with your customers will have the biggest affect on their experience. of course, there’s a certain basic level expected – a clean environment, clean dishes, and good food. Even with those things, if the service is terrible, that person doesn’t think very well of you. The experience has to deliver – you have to keep the promise you made.
Creating Your Brand
There are many parts to a brand. Your logo, color scheme, font choices, imagery, and voice are a part of that. Those are the introduction. They’re how someone can tell, at a glance, what you’re about. So they are definitely important. But beyond that, your brand is what you do. You want people to see the real you, whether that’s you as an individual, company, or organization. You want to be authentic. That’s a buzzword that us marketers like to throw around, but there’s a truth to it. The good news is, being authentic should be pretty easy – it’s being you.
How to Be Authentic
I know, it’s easier said than done, right? That’s why I’ve created a cheat sheet for you. In 10 Authentic Social Media Ideas, I’ll give you examples of ways you can share your brand with your audience on social media in ways that show them your true brand – the real you. I’ve included real-world examples so you can see how these ideas work.
Facebook Live Video: Talking About Branding
I’m also very excited to premiere a new segment called Dana’s Marketing Minute on the Chatterbox Rocks podcast. Suzanne and Liz are two musicians trying to make their way in the music business and I’ll be talking about branding for musicians. Listen to Episode 28 on iTunes (I’m at the 11:40 mark).