In the last year I have read a dozen books related, directly or indirectly, to branding. I love the number 7: I come from a family of 7; I have sailed the 7 Seas; I enjoy every day of the 7 day week because I love what I do. So, I have put together a list of 7 takeaways from these books and from my life experiences working with amazing brands:
1) Brand is reputation. It is what you do and how you do it. There will be stumbling blocks and triumphs but how you deal with them is how you and your business will be defined.
2) Testimonials are key. Include them (front and center) on your website, on your profiles and on everything. It’s the best marketing you can do and your future clients are likely to listen more intently to what their friends and colleagues have to say than to your paid advertising.
3) Brands are personal and corporate. Sometimes they are both (e.g. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group). Sometimes one influences the other which brings me to…
4) Brands are fluid. They are not just logos, slogans, numbers or products. They are intangible constructs in the minds of your clients, colleagues, competitors etc.
5) You can influence how your brand is perceived as much by what you do as by what you don’t do. Think about it…
6) Branding should be a strategic and practical exercise. Your organizational brand should be assessed, critiqued and re-visited in a concerted and disciplined way.
7) You are your brand. I have not felt this more than when I worked for BMW Group Canada. We are all brand ambassadors. We received BMWs to use, drive and experience in order that we know (and develop a passion for!) what we are selling and promoting through the various BMW products and services.
In sum, as Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do”.