Friday, September 10, 2010

What does your brand say about you?

Step yo' game up ~ sell your personal brand as a "product of choice" not cut-rate generic

I know, I know - I hear your collective groans. Everyone is just sooo tired of talking about "creating a personal brand", "maximizing a brand", "making the best out of Brand You." Believe me, I know. As a writer and small business owner, I get at least 30 emails a week with kindly folks wanting to help me with my branding strategy.

But what I've come to realize is, business or no business - everybody has a brand. You are born representing your parents' brand but soon enough you are out there on your own and the things you say and do shape how your personal brand is being perceived.

A "product of choice" is generally wildly successful. A brand that you will pay more for just on name alone. It's usually one that invokes good feelings just by hearing the brand name - Coca~Cola, Godiva, Häagen-Dazs - all good. Enron, BP, Exxon - not so good. Same thing with people as a brand - Adolf Hitler - not good. Mother Teresa- good. Both company and people brands experience ups and downs. Google - are they saving the world or taking it over? Kanye West - misunderstood artist or selfish megalomaniac? It's all in perception.

Let's take for instance my lying, cheating, can't-keep-a-promise ex. In the beginning, his brand was highly coveted. Successful, accomplished, wrapped in an attractive package and accompanied by the all-important feel good factor. But over time, the product was not as advertised and eventually did not work as promised. The feel good was minimized by the encroaching belief that I had been completely hoodwinked by the pitch and the packaging. This leads to an erosion of consumer confidence, lack of brand loyalty and eventually you get to the point where the mere mention of the brand makes you angry. 

Do you want your brand to be the BP on the block? Let's look at a few other examples: 

I had a conversation with a friend of mine who had begun a relationship with a fella. Not too long into their communications, he began telling her about all that had gone wrong in his previous relationship including the fact that he didn't believe he was very good in bed. What flavor of brand marketing is this? You admit straight out the gate that you can't keep a woman or satisfy her? You've torpedoed your own brand out the gate. That's like a mini Snickers bar saying on the package - you're going to need to eat 10 of these and we're going to make you fat. WDDDA? Just go ahead and place yourself on the bottom shelf of the Wal-Mart in the hood next to no-name one-ply toilet tissue.

I had another conversation with a male friend of mine who was attracted to a woman in his apartment building. Having just moved in, he was checking her out and strategizing the best way to approach her. She also attended his church and he listened to her give a stirring speech about how she was praying for God to send her a good Christian man now that she was living right and ready to settle down. After checking her out for a few weeks, he noticed that she went from buttoned-up professional by day to Love-in-da-club chick by night. Well, not in da club per se... she'd taken to bringing some of her one night stands home and they didn't always make it to her front door before the love part jumped off.  Her brand marketing was in direct conflict with her product AND she clearly didn't understand her target audience. If you want a good Christian man, you shouldn't be giving it up to random club dudes in view of God and everybody. 

You see what I mean about what your brand says about you? Your packaging (appearance), your pitch (speech), your promotions (what you write, tweet, blog, email), product placement (where you live, eat, work, go) and your performance (actions) all tell a story about your brand - are you being the best representative of you? Think on it and share your comments below.

30 comments:

diamond life said...

Had a guy tell me on the first date that he was glad I didn't postpone because he had a trial starting on Monday and wasn't sure his bail would hold. Did I stick around to find out what kind of trial he was facing? NO. I. DID. NOT.

CaliGirlED said...

Ok let me say here, I have not read this blog yet, I'm simmering on "Step yo' game up ~ sell your personal brand as a "product of choice" not cut-rate generic".

*scrolling back up to read the rest*

CaliGirlED said...

Wow Chele!!!

I'm going to marinate right here for a minute. "Your packaging (appearance), your pitch (speech), your promotions (what you write, tweet, blog, email), product placement (where you live, eat, work, go) and your performance (actions) all tell a story about your brand - are you being the best representative of you?"

blackprofessor said...

Your packaging (appearance), your pitch (speech), your promotions (what you write, tweet, blog, email), product placement (where you live, eat, work, go) and your performance (actions) all tell a story about your brand - are you being the best representative of you?

I love it! This is the whole truth in a nutshell and nothing else needs to be said! If most folks abided by this rule, dating and relationships would be so much easier!

Slim Jackson said...

Why would a man ever tell a woman he wasn't getting it popping in the sheets? He's better off saying nothing at all.lol.

This post also makes me think about how often people engage in self-sabotage. It's really easy to body your brand when so much of it relies on first impressions. That's all I got for today. Good stuff over here!

GrownAzzMan said...

"Your packaging (appearance), your pitch (speech), your promotions (what you write, tweet, blog, email), product placement (where you live, eat, work, go) and your performance (actions) all tell a story about your brand - are you being the best representative of you?"

To me the most important thing in marketing either a product or yourself is tell the truth. Be authentic. I believe that if someone views all of the above things about me they will have a true picture of who I am. That is all any of us can do. Where the trouble comes is when you try to be all things to all people some of which simply are not real.
"Her brand marketing was in direct conflict with her product AND she clearly didn't understand her target audience. If you want a good Christian man, you shouldn't be giving it up to random club dudes in view of God and everybody." Great example right there. Love the post Chele.

true2me said...

I always tell people to BE YOURSELF. So what if you are a whiney, spoiled brat that likes men to buy her things. Don't pretend you aren't and soon as you got a brother on lock you unhappy. If you are loud, BE LOUD, if you are super intelligent, don't play dumb cause dude you are seeing likes quiet women. If you are boring, don't pretend you like to party. If you like the finer things in life, don't pretend that him being a janitor is fine with you.

Find out who you are, be who you are, not who YOU think PEOPLE think you should be. You just end up being unhappy. Trust me, I know from experience.

GrownAzzMan said...

Be who you are and spend your energy looking for someone who wants what you have to offer.
"Thus endeth the lesson".

The Fanny Pack said...

Such "common sense" advice, yet it bears repeating. Often.

I think that when business owners, writers/bloggers and people in general realize that their Marketing Mix is a direct reflection of WHO they are, they'll be more careful to safeguard and refine it.

Good post!

datdudeincali said...

Love this. The two examples you gave are perfect. People try to portray themselves as one thing and then go out to do just the opposite. As for "Bad in Bed" Dude - that is no part of the game. Even WHEN I didn't know what I was doing (so many years ago - ha) I played like I did. No one wants to hear about your Cialis needs.

LikeLena said...

Okay, I saw the title and groaned - another branding article? But you broke it down and made it relateable. Lots of food for thought here.

MochaDudeSpeaks said...

Sometimes I want to take notes and ask you when the mid-term is - you went straight to school on this one.

Grace said...

Love this! That last paragraph is going up on the wall.

Steve said...

Agreed. No need to highlight all your fatal flaws up front. If you got past the first impression/introduction, your job is not to ruin it.

I Am Me said...

If you want a good Christian man, you shouldn't be giving it up to random club dudes in view of God and everybody. Let the church say Amen. Don't tell everybody you're a "good Christian woman" and then behave like Kat Stacks... as Chele says - that's No Bueno.
Brothers too. Pew sitting on Sunday don't cancel out panty-dropping Saturday night.

JaymeC said...

If ONLY more people recognized that they are constantly advertising themselves! Great post and that last paragraph is one for the bulletin board.

OneChele said...

LOL @ Cialis needs!

OneChele said...

GREAT comment!

OneChele said...

Sounds like a blog post - Pew Sittng vs. Panty Dropping.

OneChele said...

Ah yes... any mention of bail is a straight gamekiller for me.

Evansaw said...

Great lesson for us all.

michaeldavis said...

Good piece. However, a man should know to never try to date a woman in his apartment building. And I practice what I preach.

Nepenthe said...

I love how you spun this, definitely something more people need to get into their head.

Great read. :]

Man's World said...

Church. Mosque. Tabernacle.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Well, to be honest, I'm rebuilding my brand. I let setbacks, disappointments, and just plain LAZINESS ding my brand. It won't be down for long though!

The biggest things that I had to learn is there is a BIIIIG difference between realistic and being negative, and that I had a choice of how I chose to see a situation. Shoring up my shortcomings in these areas is the best way I've begun to move my brand from so so to preferred.

maureen palmer said...

Wow, great article. I say "authenticity" best branding that was taught to me by my grandfather.

CaliGirlED said...

Love your honesty!!! My new and improved is underway!...A lot of people want believe that their brand is done and complete, but most need to take on the theory of Continuous Improvement!

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