Even people who market products and services don’t always agree on what makes up a brand, but they certainly know a good brand when they see it.
Think Coca-Cola with its white and red can, or its unique-shaped bottles. The throaty rumble of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Distinct brands. But, a brand is more than a red and white can or a motorcycle kicking up dust.
At one time, brands were generally associated with companies. Today, with the epic expansion of the Internet, people also build personal brands.
A brand is anything – positive or negative – associated with a business. A personal brand is anything – positive or negative – associated with an individual.
In today’s global market, your personal brand conveys a great deal of information about the professional “you”. Creating a brand takes time and effort, but in the end, your personal brand will deliver your message quickly, often at a glance.
Your business brand and personal brand have become intertwined in the Internet Age, but the elements of a brand haven’t changed. Brands appeal to emotions and intellect. Your personal brand delivers a message of quality. Creating a personal brand starts with expectations.
A brand elicits an emotional response and conveys a message. Seeing the newest model developed by Mercedes-Benz instantly conveys consumer confidence because Mercedes’ brand is quality engineering. The company builds cars that last.
People who buy Mercedes have certain expectations for their automobile purchase. It will run well. It’s safer in an accident. It’s prestigious because a Mercedes is expensive. Driving comfort, deluxe features, the latest in driving technology – all are part of the Mercedes brand, a brand that meets buyer expectations.
In other words, a brand is a promise. Consumers expect a Mercedes to run well and last a long time. It’s a product “promise” that must be cultivated and maintained over the years to consistently meet customer expectations.
Do you remember Bridgestone tires? They were deemed defective a few years back, staining the Bridgestone brand. A brand can be good or bad. It delivers a great deal of information quickly. And a poorly managed brand can put your company out of business.
The brand of any product appeals to both the intellect and emotions of consumers. You can almost bet that a Johnson and Johnson talcum powder advert will have the cutest baby ever. Intellectually, we know babies need talc. Emotionally, we all love cute babies crawling across the floor.
Your personal brand should appeal to both the pragmatic side of consumers while generating an emotional response to buy that product.