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Personal Branding: You and more

brand advocacy, Brand Experience, branding, Business, Business-Of-One, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more, personality, values

The Winning Formula for Ultimate Branding Success

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In an interesting read, I came across this line, ‘Think People, Not Pixels’. I will tell you why I wrote this at the very first.

Now let’s delve into branding: At its very core, it is a discipline; a codified version of why you exist at the very place.

Sometimes marketing and branding sound a bit similar, but actually, they are quite different, though they functionally work together.

In the book ‘Marketing Complex’ by Giles Lury, the distinction is made quite clear. Marketing is how you take the brand to the market. While branding is how to personify your product/ service/ solution/ idea and build your brand’s philosophy.

It’s the ultimate blend of solidified strategy and flexible ‘tactification’: that ultimately gives you the best financial, business and people results.

Your branding success starts with your ‘Why’, then cascades down to your governing, synched-in principles and values, and then manifests into a definitive personality. And at the very core of your brand is your soul – which is independent of how your branding and marketing functions.

So how you define a branding success – be it in a qualitative or factual manner?

Like I mentioned in the beginning: true innovation and creativity happen (which I think are important metrics to gauge when you think of branding success) when you put humans at the core of all your business, branding and marketing initiatives.

Marketing is no more just promotional; it’s more humanized and empathetic. More so, it has never been more aligned with organizational goals and organization’s contribution than now.

That said, here is my formula to understand ‘branding success’ through my lens:

Humans (Brand’s soul) + Organization’s contribution (instead of just the social impact) to the business ecosystem + Principles/ Values’ advocacy = Ultimate branding success.

When I say humans form the brand’s soul, I mean the people who initially convened the deeper meaning of why their brand will exist in the market. It’s a brand-led intent that will last for the brand’s longevity and sustenance, regardless of how the market multiplies or accelerates.

Organization’s contribution is much more holistic than just an impact; it is the way it responds to its ecosystem when it comes to creating value with internal and external stakeholders and considering every individual/ consumer as a potential influencer.

And finally how your brand’s principles and values are fostered within your community will speak impactfully about how you thrive in living what defines you – consistently and inclusively.

So if at any time you feel you are getting into ‘fuzzy’ marketing by any chance, go back to your drawing board and do a branding exercise of the above ingredients. You will definitely find a strategic way to keep living the ‘branding success’ you so earnestly vision.

brand advocacy, branding, Business, Business-Of-One, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more, Self marketing, Solopreneur

Here’s How You Can Improve Your Brand Narrative

As a firm or a business-of-your-own, you are to create an even voice of your brand that resonates with your brand’s value system, culture, attributes, soul. And while it’s trite to say that your customers are the ones who pay for your brand’s offerings, but there’s more to a definition of a customer than what we think it fundamentally is.

In today’s co-create economy, your business will profit from innovative and strategic collaboration, as rightly mentioned in the book, ‘Co-Create authored by David Nour. And what does this imply for defining your brand’s customers?

Your supply partners, investors, literal customers, employees, the media – everyone who experiences your brand’s value – all are your customers, as they consume and buy into your offerings.

Now that we know who these customers [aka key stakeholders] of your brand’s value are, here are two ways in which you can solidify your brand narrative with a holistic outlook towards your organization and your larger ecosystem in which your brand operates.

  • Deepen your existing stakeholder relationships. Your brand’s internal and stakeholders are already experiencing your brand’s value in some form, so why not deepen the loyalty with them to understand their perspective about your organization to co-create value that is more impactful than just mere product/ service value that your offer? It’s no more about product/ service attributes and fancy value prepositions that don’t serve the longevity of your brand’s stickiness among your customers. It’s about contextualizing your narrative that speaks your stakeholders’ minds. Think like your stakeholders –and soon your stakeholders will be in the ‘loop’ of creating a succession of your brand’s journey in the form of an experiential brand narrative. In the book, David Nour talks about reverse perspective – seeing the world through other’s eyes. For example, Hoplamazium triggered a profound shift in the way hotels conventionally refer their customers as guests, however, to think more deeply, the hotels are the guests in your lives. And this is precisely how you should imagine how your brand communicates internally and externally: through relational focus and customer-driven thinking and experience journey.

 

  • Focus on building the creative capacity of your employees. Seek buy-in from your employees across silos and business units to contribute their employee journey experience. Not many employees feel ‘inclusive’ or a part of something in which they can exercise their personal creative capacity to narrate their brand experience with your organization. Google does this brilliantly by helping its employees allocate a percentage of time in pursuing their passion projects. Result? Positive company reviews, more and better talent attraction, improved brand influence – and all things ‘earned’ through creative freedom for [its] employees. So, enable a way in which your employees become your best brand narrators: that helps your brand’s intent to illuminate in your business goals, aspirations – and most importantly, in your ‘Why.’ Even if you are a solopreneur, it starts with your ‘Why,’ and then follow these two points in the context of your business and economics.

 

That said, your brand narrative is not about you, but about how your ‘Why’ can make the ‘How’ of your value consumers more simplified and useful.

In what ways are you improving your brand narrative?

Brand Experience, branding, Entrepreneur, Personal Branding: You and more

One Best Tip For A Lasting Personal Branding Success

Without further ado, it’s patience.

You can’t build a brand in a jiffy. And you can’t program your mind to function on short-term gains that could potentially thwart your brand’s image in the market.

So how can patience serve as a mechanism to achieve your personal branding goals – be it whatever field you are in?

It’s through consistent observations of people, of undying and un-fleeting, fundamental emotions that people love to react/ act to; and of course, it’s your knowledge that can fill the business void through such social and emotional, motivational drivers.

When you eye your market ahead of time through incredible patience and observation, your basic analytical ability is further enhanced with a blend of tunnel-like vision and best operational hustle – to think long-lasting and sustainable.

I listen to Gary Vaynerchuk talk about this all the time – which sounds eternally true when you are looking to build a promising, well-hedged personal brand.

Trust me, it takes more than just launching your personal Web site and a few blog posts with some sizzling promotional offers of selling your branding [ business] package. You need to constantly iterate your content strategy, tinker a tad bit more than what your competitors do; study and learn from e-mails you receive to understand what is genuinely selling versus what’s just a cupcake-business-model that just spirals down before you even knew it existed.

What’s the underlying, governing term to summarize this spiel? It’s patience. And a crazy amount of it when you dig your mind to find answers to what your audience really need versus what they want.

So be patient; put out content that best resonates with your communication style and tonality and practice business intuition by being patient and observant.

I wish everyone a beautiful Christmas that paves way for a patience-centric, hardworking and a focused 2018 to all my readers.

PS: Going forward, you will be receiving my blog post every Sunday as that’s when I love to just think and share my thoughts with you.

branding, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more

Don’t Be A Clone

My workplace with yellow notes

When I listened to Akshay Kothari’s, Head of LinkedIn India, conversation with Kunal Shah, Founder of FreeCharge, it was such a revelation of how startups are sometimes cloning the West when coming up with business models to get funding.

And so can be true for your personal brand as well; after all many, early stage startups have only founders/ entrepreneurs with limited cash to run their business show in the startup ecosystem. And all that they have is their values, achingly well-prepared business spiel to convince the investors, and their thought leadership.

But what seems a little ‘clone(y)’ is how they simply learn some successful business models from the Bay area [categorically] or the West [generally] without understanding the economic context or a viable business purpose. For example, Kunal rightly mentioned in his interaction with Akshay that we can’t have laundry apps in India vis-a-vis the West.

The same logic is apt for building your personal brand – you have to have your own voice with your own rationale behind your perspective. Don’t just simply regurgitate on what is being poured on the Web. Figure out ‘why’ people will value your perspective; understand your audience in the most nuanced form to decipher what they truly expect from you as a brand.

You are a mining of your own consumption of (audience-centric) information – and that is how you can blend into your brand narrative with your business model to churn something fresh, if not novel. Air out this ‘blend’ by writing contextual blog posts, videos, articles – or whatever your audience like to ‘snack’ on when they need valuable, personalized information.

People, including investors, are looking at establishing trust in you and your business, and this is solidified when you bring out a radical yet doable context in your business and brand: of believing [backed by facts and intuition] on why you are there for the long-haul.

So think of your business as an extension of your personal brand – and not a spin-off (no matter how fancy this word sounds).

It’s great to keep learning, unlearning and relearning how businesses are built and how brands story-tell, but the purpose of such education is to find a teacher in yourself and find your own inspiration to create something unique to you.

And that is why personal branding is not about proclaiming what you are good at, it is about finding yourself amid a pool of me-too people, and going all-in, consumed, in your purpose.

Don’t be a clone. Be yourself.

That’s all for now.