Dreams and Passions? Of course……..
The first point of contact for customers and clients is most often the ‘brand’ of the business and I don’t know about you, but when I read one of those wonderful straplines dreamt up by ‘clever’ marketing people, I often wonder what planet they’re on.
You know the sort of thing; a bus company that promises to ‘move you to your dreams’ or a utility company that offers ‘service with passion’. When the message simply doesn’t match the type of business, or offers grandiose promises, it has no credibility and probably damages rather than enhances the brand.
I want to bank with a bank
As an example, I actually want to bank with a bank that makes money from banking. I know, of course, that they will make some from me – that is (part of) the reason they are in business. I also want to know that my money is safe and that they keep up with what is going on in the financial world; that they don’t put my money at risk by making rash decisions like lending it to people that can’t pay it back. In other words, I want to bank with a successful bank that provides proven quality and service through its actions and which is reflected in its branding. If they have to try and sell to me on the basis of ostentatious promises or extreme claims that obviously can’t be fulfilled, then I wonder why they can’t sell to me on the real successes they make – perhaps they don’t have any or (dare I ask) do they actually know what they are doing?
Clients and customers judge us initially by our brand image. When that brand (by way of logo and/or strapline) makes either direct or indirect promises then it is imperative that those promises match expectations and perceptions of the marketplace we are in, otherwise the promises appear an empty use of words that have either no impact or worse, engendering mistrust or even derision.
Personal branding makes promises.
There’s one brand that is most often overlooked, or certainly underestimated in its power to make or break the process of client and customer acquisition – the personal brand.
Our personal brand is on show at all times – there is no choice! How we look, act and communicate all add up to our personal brand. Our personal brand gives our clients an understanding of who we are. If we pay little or no attention to our brand (our personal brand) then it is probable that the default will be poor branding, which will badly affect our opportunities for success.
What if we have been very clever and produced (or had produced for us) a really good brand, is that the job done?
No…the job has just begun! This really is the focus of this article. However well we create the company brand, its success will be totally dependent on the personal brand of the people that represent it.
Have you ever been negatively affected by a national brand because of the salesperson, or by the poor reception you have received on the telephone? It happens often doesn’t it? This is why we need to be vigilant at all times that we are not damaging the brand we represent and if it’s your company then you need to be even more vigilant that everyone in the organisation also has a good personal brand.Our personal brand is represented by our appearance, speech and attitude. It is portrayed by the words we use and the things we do; in fact, everything we are is our personal brand and will in turn impact on our company brand.
And this applies to everyone in the company (even if they are not in a customer facing role), as even the way we act inside the company will impact on the pride in the brand.
Just as a pointer: I attend many networking events with small business owners in various areas of the country and I find so often I have to make a real effort to look past their personal brand in order to discover any respect for their company brand. Sometimes their personal brand is so bad you simply can’t get past it.
Scruffy and inappropriate clothing, poor personal hygiene and ill-considered conversation; maybe this sounds over the top, but next time you stand in front of someone who is trying to impress you, don’t rely wholly on your sub-conscious. Really study their personal brand and ask yourself whether or not you feel comfortable doing business with them.
We must always remember…first impressions count and if you fail to get your message across and don’t know why, check out your personal brand!