Our brands are what other people think about us, whether “we” is a company or me. And it’s simple, we all have one because other people think about all of us at least some of the time.
Question is – what are they thinking? The second question is, what do you want them to think? And if the answer to either of those is, ‘I don’t care’ then stop reading – your brand will take care it itself but may possibly be on a solid course to nowhere.
I picked up a book today on branding. It was full of diagrams, strategies, bullet points and a hundred other things to think about when designing your personal brand. My approach is simpler – and it involves a shower.
When you climb in the shower your primary concern before washing is to get the temperature right. You start by making big adjustments and then refine them to smaller and smaller changes until the temperature is just right.
In the same way, your brand might initially require some major inputs to get it on track and then some smaller adjustments to keep it on course. Like a shower, a change on your part takes some time to result in a change in temperature. A change of approach on your part takes some time before people notice.
You make a change, there’s a delay and your brand changes.
It could start with your job. John is an accountant. That’s a brand. John’s landed a major new exciting job. John is a good accountant. John’s been made financial director. His brand is flying. There is suspicion that John assisted the CEO before he was fired for corruption. John’s brand is tailspinning and he is now known as ‘the former high flyer who is probably corrupt’.
See how it works. It’s simple and powerful. And your brand as you are reading this is being talked about, inflated or deflated. What do you think? Is your brand worth more than it was a year ago?
You could get more technical about it but in essence if you get this right your brand will be exactly where you want it. It just requires some pre-thought and management. The Shower Branding approach work exactly the same for us as individuals as they do for companies.
Oh and talking of showers, our President in waiting Jacob Zuma has a bit of a shower problem with his brand. Now if he would only focus on what he wants people to think about him as a brand instead of trying to sue the artist of the cartoons that linked his brand to the ridiculous comment he made at his rape trial. He could start moving towards a desired brand rather than entrenching the shower brand.