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Brand You | #MyFridayStory No. 36

Brand You | #MyFridayStory No. 36

Presenting your best – and authentic self to the world, must surely be important?

When I first studied marketing, I couldn’t believe that you had to teach people this stuff. I thought everyone knew that treating customers as the centre of the universe, is a given, a minimum requirement? Apparently not.

I took to marketing like a duck to water and for a long time, struggled with people that didn’t ‘get’ that applying marketing principles is vital for a business to succeed. I have experienced seasoned entrepreneurs, business owners and decision makers, that although they may have achieved some success, would achieve world-class greatness, if they only implemented a robust marketing strategy to guide the business. To this day, it amazes me how few business leaders have a clear vision for the company, let alone a marketing plan.

Because I understood the fundamentals of marketing and grasped how very real the advantages of clever marketing can be, I embraced every nuance of the discipline. I applied each piece of knowledge I acquired and watched in amazement as the predicted results unfolded. I was a convert before I started, I became evangelic. However, being an evangelist for marketing’s cause has only served to further frustrate me, as I find more and more people who don’t ‘get it.’

A short while after I had graduated, I remember wanting to write a ‘Marketing for Dummies’ kind of booklet. I thought it would be great to have everyone on the same page and understanding the importance of a marketing approach. (It’s maybe not too late to pen down some of my thoughts…for the dummies, I mean?)

The thing that I don’t understand is this: How can you not ‘get’ that first impressions count? It’s a scientific fact. So, why would you not want to present your best ‘self’ whenever possible? For companies, that ‘self’ is your brand. It encompasses your logo and any collateral that presents the company to the world. Your brand also includes your people, what they look like, who they are, what say and what they do, in and out of the workplace. Your brand even extends to the culture and vibe within your organisation.

So, it stands to reason, having a brand that doesn’t display well, or that doesn’t echo who you are or what you stand for – your personality – creates confusion in the consumer’s mind. We all know that feeling when something is amiss between what we perceived before and what we are experiencing now. That’s the same feeling we get when a brand doesn’t deliver on its promises. It’s hard to trust a brand that behaves schizophrenically.

That brings me to, ‘Brand you.’

If presenting your company in a favourable light in the hearts and minds of the audience you are trying to reach, is the point of branding, then surely the same applies to your personal brand? I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want to be liked, or at the very least to be acknowledged as worthy. Presenting ‘Brand you’ to the world in an authentic and professional way, takes guts. It asks that you become vulnerable. And vulnerability builds trust.

We live in a society that is ‘always on.’ We are more connected than ever before and social media has put our lives on permanent display. Having a polished personal brand that expresses who you are and what you stand for, is massively important now and will become even more important in future. Presenting, ‘Brand You’ as approachable, likable, relevant and memorable, should echo across every sphere of your on and offline persona.

Make the effort to present the best version of yourself to the world, you are too special not to.

Happy Youth Day!

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