While it is novel to encourage others to not judge a book by its cover, the reality is that judging something or someone based on first appearances is something we all do. Now, not all of us will give our assumptions any merit, but in some rare cases, our assumptions will definitely prove themselves true. For example, someone gifted me with a store-made sweet potato pie. I took one look at the pie and I knew I was not going to like it. I really didn’t need to taste it to know it, but if you are a die hard, sweet potato pie lover like I am, you can spot a good pie a mile away. Nonetheless, I cut the tiniest slice to try it out. As my knife cut into the pie, all of my assumptions were proven true—the texture was wrong, the breakaway was sloppy, and the taste….arrgh…yucky pie!
So how does this experience relate to branding? Clients, customers, investors, potential business partners, sponsors, and anyone else you hope to draw to your business all judge your business by its cover. Your cover can be your business card, your dress or demeanor at a recent networking event, your website—any extension of your business. It is in the moment you confess you are an entrepreneur that others begin to size you up. It is the reason I never extend to a person my business card until I’ve had a conversation with them. I am the neighborhood design extraordinaire, and everything about me has to say that—my casual conversation, my friendly demeanor, my wit and charm, and oh, by the way, I’m going to teach you how to grow your business on a solid brand idea with smart and credible design. By the time I put that business card in your hand, you’re going to think to yourself, “She was so easy to talk to, I can’t wait to pick her brain a little more about my business.”
Maybe neighborly expertise isn’t your brand message. Forget about words like “professional” and “unique” because those words are a part of everyone’s brand. And throw out the idea that you are doing something entirely new because even if you are, that alone won’t sell your product (ask any MP3 manufacturer who sold MP3 players before iPod hit the scene). You still need to stand out among a pool of businesses trying to serve the same need. Your brand is the only avenue you have to leverage your product and service. What do you want others to recognize you are the best at? Call me today and let’s create your brand persona together.
Who will you be in 2014? Please share your ideas, questions and feedback below.