In anticipation of my interview with Andrea Kates, I’m re-posting a post on branding I did a while back. Andrea addresses this idea–while taking it even further in her book Find Your Next. Watch for our upcoming interview!
What is your brand? Do you know what it is? Does it feel mushy? Or clear.
Because it needs to be…clear as a bell, that is.
Starting with ‘Why’.
Why do you do what it is that you do?
And, what makes you think people will care about it?
Can you answer their problem? What is their problem?
What results can you provide to their problem? If they could pay good money for you to ‘fix’ their problem…Why would they give it to you?
In the traditional sense, It identifies an animal as part of a particular herd owned by a particular rancher.
The herd belongs to him. It follows him.
Who’s following you? Why are they following you?
Do you have the answer to their problem?
Are you there to help lead them to the answer they seek?
Those are the people in your herd–or tribe, since you’re not an animal…exactly.
Your Tribe. That’s more human animal-like.
Cattle follow their rancher as they know the rancher is the source of food. They need the food for fuel to carry on growing into the perfect specimens they are developing into.
You ‘feed’ your tribe.
Your tribe are not cattle, they don’t follow blindly…unless they’re looking for fads-not answers-or just their next meal.
Your brand, your message, is food for your tribe. It is their fuel.
What are you feeding them?
Is it high quality?
You are what you eat.
If you feed your cattle junk, they will not give you a good return on your investment. If you feed your tribe junk, they won’t stick around very long either.
Are you in it for the short or long haul?
Can they trust you or are you a fly-by-night operation only in it for a quick buck, an inferior product, then you move on for the next quick deal.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” (Seth Godin)
Apple makes good computers. So does Dell. So does HP. Or Microsoft. But, why is Apple worth all of those other brands combined?
Because of ‘why’ they’re in business.
They desire to think outside the box, not just make good computers or even great computers, but to make outstanding products that exceed your expectations. They build loyal fans that will keep coming back (even if all their products don’t function properly all the time-it doesn’t matter).
They don’t want to be the same.
They want to be different.
They want to inspire a movement, they want to create a herd or a tribe that can’t wait to buy what is next in the offing.
They inspire loyalty.
An Apple brand is distinct.
Iconoclast: A person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions. (Merriam Webster dictionary).
Apple would like to throw out the whole idea/perception of what you think you’re supposed to get in a great product. It wants to top even that. It wants you to dream even bigger dreams; it wants to show you a cow that will blow your mind; to take everything you thought about what a cow should be and turn it on its head. Now, it’s not longer just a cow, but it’s the cow you want to follow. (A Purple Cow-Seth Godin.)
It has its stamp.
A stamp of approval.
People who want to follow that herd, or tribe want the same stamp. They want to identify with it.
The Apple Cow.
If Apple invented a cow,
all the Apple followers would buy it. They’d be sitting on pins and needles for the
People want to work with other people who believe what they believe. It only makes sense. Not everyone is into purple cows. Not everyone is into white headphones. Not everyone is into sleek design. Only the people who believe that those things are cool are into them.
But, there’s a lot of them.
Because people like invention.
They like re-invention.
Look at Madonna. She’s the iMadonna.
She’s the re-invention queen. She makes new things that aren’t that new but her followers, her believers like them and want to buy them because they believe in Re-invention.
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
They buy the fact that Madonna re-invented herself again. That is so cool. I want that, they say. I support that. What a cool, purple cow.
Madonna’s brand is clear. She’s Madonna. That’s why she has been able to diversify. Madonna the Director. Madonna the Fashion Designer. Madonna the Author.
If people like one thing that you do, they will like other things, because those things will also have your ‘stamp’ on them.
The stamp that they want.
The stamp they approve of.
The stamp they give their stamp of approval to. I dip. You dip. We dip.
So…what does all this mean?
It means you have to find your brand.
Well, you don’t have to but if you want to find your brand you have to stand out.
You have to be unique.
You have to be you.
You have to do you.
You can’t do anyone else. Well, a lot of people try but then they get lost in the crowd.
They become part of the mushiness.
Mushiness not good.
Everyone is unique.
Find out what it is about you that people come back for more of it on a regular basis.
Those people are called your friends.
You will often find clues about why they are your friends when you ask them what it is about you that makes them want to be your friend.
(This can be a good clue as to your brand.)
Simple as that.
Maybe you have similar qualities that a lot of people have.
No, there is something about you-just you-that can only be you.
Not everyone will be attracted to it, that thing, that certain something that makes you stand out.
But it is your mojo. Make them answer. Don’t let them off the hook.
They’re your friends. They want to help you out. People will do amazing things for you when you ask them to.
We all have trouble asking for help.
But, therein lies a lot of answers–in the asking.
Getting it out into the open, out of the dark, into the light.
Where everything is more clear.
Less fuzzy, less mushy.
With nice, bright colors in every hue: pinks, oranges, blues, yellows, greens, fushias, ambers, white, grey, black–and yes, purple.
Magenta, lilac, lavender.
What’s the color of your parachute? Or cow” Or headphone?
That’s your brand.
(photo credit: Juliaf/flickr)
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