This word bores me. Maybe because it’s only one syllable. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want to think about it. As usual, an unanticipated string of events occurred that forced me to take a stand and make a declaration on this subject.
What is a brand? Her brand? My brand? I have decided that brand is an opinion that one forms when they first meet you as well as lingering impressions or afterthoughts. I believe that a brand should be perceived in a positive manner, it should be the essence of what you represent and the experience of you. There’s a little of “you”, or each of you in a team scenario, that is mixed in with it, something that is personal or unique.
Should we sterilize a brand to make it safe for everyone? No. Should you be afraid to be you for fear that someone else doesn’t like your brand? No. Brands are like canned corn, most people love it but there is occasion that it is intolerable to another. That’s ok, you can’t please or accomodate everyone.
I recently got to work with a new client. She had a desire for apparel that would build awareness of her yet-to-be-opened business. She had a deeply personal passion for a color but others didn’t share her vision. I got to sit at her dining room table, and watch her children, on summer vacation, playing with visiting cousins. I saw her garage filled to the brim with items for her new establishment, all snatched up at yard sales and flea markets. I witnessed her dedicated assistant sweating in the hot summer sun stripping, sanding and painting items for their new space…and she wasn’t complaining!
From her kitchen table, her calmness in the midst of mayhem, from the cheeriness of her spirit and the colors seen throughout her home. I knew why she wanted to incorporate this color into her brand. I knew she gained comfort and happiness from it and it represented her joy in creativity, like the warm rays of the sun rising each day. She didn’t tell me this, she exuded it.
Pursuant to this meeting the client told me what her vision was for her “dream shirts”. Another marketing company advised that they didn’t agree with the concept stating they felt were too bold. The client didn’t change her design because she was not afraid to show her strong and exuberant brand. As I attended her grand opening last week I was delighted to see how awesome those shirts looked on her entire staff and how perfectly they fit into the concept of their business.
I am a brand. I have my thoughts about what others perceive and I’m sure that doesn’t agree with actual perceptions all the time. What I do know is that I am my brand, I am not playing make believe. Like canned corn, you either like me or you don’t and that’s okay.