One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is branding and imaging. Businesses will spend a considerable amount of time and energy carefully building their brand and the image they want to project to their customers.
They understand that the image they project will not only attract a certain type of consumer, but it could be a deciding factor on if they want to do business with them.
There are many benefits to creating a successful brand and image, but one of the most important is it can create a powerful and positive first impression.
For example, what is a person’s first thought when they think of Mercedes-Benz or see the logo? For many, class and prestige come to mind. Others may think of fine quality and exquisite designs.
This is the image they wanted to project and their plan has worked to perfection.
Branding Is Everywhere You Look
We are constantly bombarded by companies that are vying for our attention in the form of various advertisements and eye catchy logos. These images are everywhere, and we often form thoughts and feelings about those images within seconds. In other words, we could form opinions without having any direct contact with them. We will come to certain conclusions simply based on the image that company projects.
What makes this interesting is many of these thoughts are not based on logic, they are fueled by emotion. These companies understand if they can make a person feel good or create positive thoughts just by looking at them, they are one step closer to success.
Do you have any brands or logos that make you feel good just by looking at them? One of my favorite logos as a kid was the Kool Aid man. Every time I saw the Kool Aid man, I wanted a nice, cool refreshing glass of Kool Aid! Even today, I can close my eyes and clearly see my mother making it for us on a hot, summer day. I can even hear us all laughing and having a great time as we drank our delicious Kool Aid. OH YEAH!
That is an excellent example of branding perfection: The mere sight of the Kool Aid man evoked positive, happy emotions in me and countless kids everywhere. Even if I wasn’t thirsty, I wanted some Kool Aid! Am I the only one?
There are countless courses on branding for business and how important it is for success. Many people understand how branding works in a professional setting, but did you know branding is just as valuable in your personal life as well?
This is Business and Personal
When it comes to branding, Steve Forbes sums it up perfectly:
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.”
Now when people read that, they may automatically think of a small business or Fortune 500 company. While that may be true, I see much more: I see myself.
I have learned to view myself as a business. Even in my personal life, I see a corporation that’s capable of doing great things.
Here’s another quote to consider:
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon
What many of us don’t realize is we are a walking, talking brand. Everything we do is scrutinized and used by others to determine who we are and what we stand for. The right image can take us far in life, while the wrong image can stop us dead in our tracks.
Defining Your Brand
How others see us may not be the same as how we perceive ourselves. This disconnect could cause confusion and many missed opportunities. Like a business, it’s critical we project the appropriate image we want to convey to those we come in contact with.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What image do I want to project? How do I want to be perceived? Do I want to be seen as the leader? The strong, silent type? Fun and easy going? Tough, but fair? The comedienne or the serious one?
- What do people see when they look at me? Do they see the image I want to project? If not, what do they see? Do I look like relationship material? A model employee? Someone to be trusted?
- How do people feel about me? Does the image I project want people to be around me, or avoid me?
- Who is my target audience? The image you project to a 8 year old may be much different from the image you project to a co-worker, potential business partner or to the CEO
- What are my strengths and weaknesses? Am I good at taking control and solving problems? A good listener? Am I an impatient person? Have trouble staying focused?
- What are my short term and long term goals? Having something to strive for is key in creating your brand.
Be True To Who You Want To Be
Creating a quality brand is a tremendous accomplishment, but that’s just the beginning. It also must be sincere, believable and authentic. If people sense you are being fake or trying to be something you’re not, it will not work. We’ve all seen products that promised great results, but were poorly designed and full of cheap materials. Not only will I stop using their products, but I’ll tell all my friends about my experience as well.
We see this all the time in business, but it happens to people as well:
“Don’t listen to him, he’s not trustworthy!”
In the next installment of this special series, we will discuss the ways to become your brand. Are you ready to accomplish your goals? Are you ready transform into the person you want to be?
If so, stay tuned!
PS: Branding is about utilizing your strengths that you possess. My friend Alyssa Daire is the host of the podcast entitled: Maximize Your Strengths. We had a wonderful conversation you can listen here.