Article: The Brand Called You

In this post I am sharing an important article written by Tom Peters about brand. Whenever I am working with clients or running a seminar about branding, I give participants a copy of this article as food for thought.

Now I warn you, this is a long article and there is a lot to take in and think about. You will need some time – so stop, make yourself a cuppa, sit, read and highlight or make notes as you go through. If you get stuck, keep going or come back to it later. You might find something that resonates towards the end?

‘The Brand Called You’ by Tom Peters

What did you think? Are you suprised to learn that this article was written over 15 years ago?

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Put a bit of ‘You’ in the Marketing Mix

Here's me - following my own advice!

Here’s me – following my own advice!

For many of us it is natural to shy away from the spotlight. In life and in business we find ways to ensure that we are not the point of focus. We humbly play down our achievements or hide behind the products or services we offer. We flush and shake our head when complimented and use phrases like “It was a team effort” because feeling proud of ourselves and being open to positive feedback feels foreign or wrong or conceited.

Yet it is important to recognise that your individual efforts are making a difference. Day after day in your work you are contributing to your company, to your colleagues and to your customers.  Your contribution is unique, bolstered by your own experiences and knowledge and enhanced by your instincts and insights. Your strengths and your weaknesses all come into play. No one else contributes exactly like you.

With this in mind you need to consider how your contribution is directly linked to your marketing approach. How do you personify your brand? What difference would it make if a prospect could see your face or hear your messages or get a grasp of your ideas before you even broach the corporate spiel?

Think about this as an example, do you have a picture of yourself on your website? Before you get embarrassed and dismiss the idea, think about the benefits of allowing your clients to see your face online. How much information could they gather about you – the person they will actually be dealing with – just by seeing your face, your smile, what you are wearing, where you are standing or what you are doing in that image? How might this visual connection strengthen the experience when you meet face to face or as they contemplate purchasing your product?

These days, with so much information available to them, customers can afford to be curious about the creator of the goods or the services practitioner they are about to invest in. If a prospect cannot get a complete and compelling story about you, they may decide to keep looking until they find something or someone else that resonates. Don’t miss the opportunity to give them all the clues they need to get comfortable with you and your product as quickly and convincingly as possible.

This is why media such as online videos can be so powerful. We can see and hear someone on screen, getting a real read on what they would be like in person. We can gauge our reactions to their words and style of delivery to decide whether they are genuinely offering what we need and if we feel comfortable with their approach. This starts the process of establishing trust and building an ongoing business connection which – ultimately – is what we all work so hard to achieve.

In many cases, putting yourself forward and showing how you personify your brand can help to capture your customers’ attention and shorten the purchasing cycle so they decide to buy from you every time. Put yourself in the spotlight for a change and let your customers know who they are dealing with as early as possible. There’s no need to be shy. You and your contribution count more than you realise so show yourself off and be proud.

What can to do this week to put yourself in the spotlight?

Why Straight Shooter?

Melbourne Business Center

Melbourne Business Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you who have ever named a business you may agree that if can be a very difficult thing to do. The company name is a key component of your brand, so you want it to be authentically representative what the business is offering. You want it to be original and clever enough to be memorable for your audience. And practically speaking, it needs to be available for corporate registration.I registered Straight Shooter as a business around ten years ago. My husband and I had just moved from Sydney to Melbourne with our 7 month old, first-born son. Starting a consulting business seemed like an obvious option for me. I felt I had the knowledge and the confidence to work with clients and began ticking off all the tasks required to start a small business.

Deciding on the name was the hardest task. Because the consultancy was all based around me and my experience, it was really important to get a name that reflected who I am and what I stand for. It took a few weeks of discussion. Over this time I did all the things I now recommend to clients.

I thought about my skills to come with a list of words to describe myself. I considered what I wanted to achieve with the business and how I wanted to be perceived by potential clients. I added more and more words to the list.

For interests sake, I thought about Leah Taylor Consulting – an obvious choice yet one giving no actual indication of what my clients should expect. This name was discarded as I felt I could do better.

Straight Shooter was on the shortlist as it captured things about me which I perceive as valuable – and I hoped others would too:
• I am compulsively honest
• I am not afraid to share my opinions based on my experience
• I believe that simple solutions that get to the heart of a matter have more chance of succeeding than plans based on convoluted theory and rhetoric.

Armed with my shortlist of options I began to test market my ideas. I spoke to family members and friends to determine their ideas about me and how these might be translated into a business name. There is certainly a risk in approaching family for comments and criticism of your ideas and I’m sure some families can be worse in than others. Of course you need to be prepared to wait a few minutes as your nearest and dearest take the ‘give me’ opportunity to highlight your best and worst characteristics – sometimes in a not so constructive manner. But in the end you should break through to get heartfelt and valuable words and ideas from those who know you best. Thankfully my experience was positive and the feedback I received was useful.

Finally in a conversation with my older brother, the name of my business was decided when – unprompted by me – he said he thought I was a straight shooter. I trusted that his opinion matched my gut feel on the name. I felt sure enough to move forward. I held my breath until the final ASIC searches confirmed that the name was available and that the registration process could begin.

So I was all ready to roll with Straight Shooter Marketing and Communication Pty Ltd. Until I was offered a new in-house Marketing role that was too good to refuse and I rejoined the corporate world, shelving the consulting business indefinitely.

So ten years on from its instigation the Straight Shooter story continues. The intervening decade has taught me so much more about marketing and how it can be applied for different individuals and businesses. I have so much more to share now.

Whether you are just starting out in business or are decades into your career, I’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your story – and perhaps even tell you a little more of mine.

Life can take you where you least expect it, but it certainly makes the big picture story much less predictable.

What do you think of the name Straight Shooter? Leave your comments below.