Like the majority of students, I had plenty of friends, but I was never part of the “in” group. In my day, the popular group consisted of cheerleaders, football players (who dated the cheerleaders), class president (who was usually a football player), etc. You get my drift. And like most kids, I thought that I would give anything to be popular.
In 9th grade my family moved to a new school district in the middle of the school year. On the second day in my new junior high, I was invited to sit with the cheerleaders at lunch. I had arrived! I was finally going to be popular!
During lunch, I realized that I was not in yet – they were checking me out. All I had to do was fit in, be like them, and I would instantly be popular in my new school. Yeah!
Unfortunately, as lunch continued I realized that being like them was not going to be easy. The topic of conversation revolved around nail polish colors (I didn’t wear any), football games (I was not a fan), and the best looking boys (I didn’t know them yet.) If I wanted to be like them, I was going to have to change who I was, how I dressed, and the activities that I attended.
As I walked to my next class I was overjoyed at the opportunity that I had… and certain that I would not take it.
In business, we call doing what I needed to do to fit in with the popular crowd rebranding. We’ve seen companies change their image to chase after a more promising customer base. Or to take advantage of a new fad or initiative that has become popular. Or perhaps, to mold themselves into what their marketing agency tells them they ought to be.
This process is never comfortable because it’s not authentic. And it never works for the same reason. In the end, these companies lose customers because the customer becomes confused about what the company stands for.
A better approach is to figure out what your company stands for and believes in to achieve brand clarity. What are the key values that all decisions are based on? How do you want to be perceived in the market place? And why is it important for potential customers to see you in this way?
Remember, your brand is everything that customers, employees, and vendors experience when they interact with you. It includes how your employees dress, the words they use to greet people, the design of your brochures, the images you use on your website, the color you paint your walls, and anything and everything else you can think of.
To attract your ideal customer, your brand must be authentic and consistent. For it to be authentic, it will be based on your companies’ vision, mission, values and operating guidelines. And when you have brand clarity and consistently live it on a daily basis, your brand will be a marketing asset.
What is your brand? And what is it based on?
Have a great day!