Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 1:39 am | Overcast 65º

 
 
 
 
Relationships

John Daly: What Is Your Brand, and Is It Authentic?

[John Daly’s note: Andrea Michaels*, a good friend and close associate, recently wrote an article that I feel is so relevant to us all that I wanted to share it with you this week. For those of you in business, you can relate. For those just starting out with an entrepreneurial concept, take it to heart. For those of you looking to create your own style and brand, this should be helpful. It is republished with permission.]

Branding and its definition are paramount in the strategic thinking of businesses as well as for personal lives. So it’s provocative to think about what your “brand” is and if it’s truly authentic.

To define your brand, you need to decide what business you are in and what you do best. If you cannot define who you are and at what you are best, no one can take you seriously.

Simon Sinek in his book, Start with Why, attests that “Every person, every organization, knows what they do, and some know how they do it, but very few know why they do what they do. And it’s that ‘why’ that defines you.”

Take Disney for example. The simple idea on which Disney launched Walt Disney World resorts has never changed. Walt Disney made it clear that it was “to create happiness through magical experiences.” According to a Forbes article, Tom Boyles, then-senior vice president of global customer-managed relationships at Disney Parks & Resorts, attested that there are ”11.2 billion ways” a guest can interact with the Disney brand through major attractions, restaurants, characters, hotels or transportation, to name a few.

Our business, Extraordinary Events, is simple: We conceptualize, design and execute events. That’s what we do. We do it by hiring event partners who are at the top of their field in every discipline in order to deliver a flawless product.

BUT ... why do we do all of this? Let me give you a personal vision: I want to make a difference; I want to make meaning in all that we do. I want to educate; I want to inform; I want to enlighten; and every once in a while I want to do something that changes the world. Like rebuild an entire school in an impoverished area (a long and wonderful story for another time).

EE’s brand is to not just follow the trends, but to create them.

Consider this: If you want to find out what your brand truly is, ask someone else. Ask your customers what they think best defines you.

If you have a product, do not ask the people who invented it and produced it how it should be branded; ask its customers. If you are building a personal brand, ask your friends who they think you are.

When you have those answers you will know how to market yourself or your company.

One example was given to me by an automotive brand that saw itself as a luxury automobile, but its customers when polled defined it as a performance vehicle. Based upon it customer base, all future advertising and promotion focused on performance, and sales numbers went up dramatically.

Hot Branding Irons

Think of it this way: Your “brand” is like a branding iron, searing your image into the world with permanence. It’s how you will be perceived.

An exceptional speaker at a conference I attended talked about a welcome letter he received from Apple that read “Apple wants you to go and explore and, where you can, swim in the deep end.”

What’s the brand message? We are untraditional. And if you take a look at Apple’s packaging, their stores, their Genius bars, what are they saying? That they deal in simplicity, the ease of using their product. The brand image is carried across all of their platforms.

Think about Starbucks. Theirs is a never-ending quest to innovate and simplify the experience for their customers, and this keeps them on the leading edge in their category of business.

Think about Nordstrom’s Shoes of Prey with which women have the power to design shoes on iPads that are then made to order and can be picked up in the store. This personalized service and custom design capability helps gives Nordstrom a competitive edge over other high-end retailers.

Branding Isn’t for Just the Big Guys

Apple, Starbucks and Nordstrom are all big brands, but branding is not just for large corporations. All businesses can use branding to win a place in both the customers’ hearts and minds.

Danny O’Neill’s air-roasted coffee business, The Roasterie, communicates his company brand and his passion for the coffee bean through his logo, product packaging, website and marketing message.

To communicate this passion, O’Neill includes his entrepreneurial story on each packet of coffee beans he sells. It starts with “I can tell you when I fell in love. It was November 22, 1978. On that day, as a foreign exchange student in Costa Rica, I picked my first coffee bean in the mountainous, volcanic, coffee-growing region around the Poás Volcano. I fell in love with the country, the people, and the coffee. Especially the coffee. Fifteen years later my passion for great coffee could no longer be denied, and The Roasterie was born ...”

O’Neill is an example of what Sally Hogshead in her wonderful book, Fascinate, How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist, means when she states: “Brands live inside communities, not corporations. Your brand lies inside conversations and aspirations. A brand lies in workplaces and schools, insides homes and dinner table conversations. Brands aren’t static; they are living breathing things that organically change and evolve as new people join the conversation.”

Branding Rules to Embrace

Madonna has branded and re-branded her image and style over the past 30 years. She is a fearless master of her brand and message, and she set the branding tone for all other celebrities to follow.

Below are the branding rules she has created for herself. Click here for details on each bullet point. Excellent advice for us all.

» Stand for something

» Always deliver

» Be clear about what you want

» Be a work in progress

» Don’t be afraid to bloody a few noses

» Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs

* Andrea Michaels is founder and president of Extraordinary Events, a multiaward-winning international event agency based in Los Angeles. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower: Lessons in Business, Lessons in Life and an in-demand speaker and leading voice in the special events industry. She may be reached at [email protected].

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the keys to life skills success. Click to learn more about The Key Class. John’s new book, 74 Key Life Skills for a Happy, Successful Life, is available on Amazon. Click here to receive a FREE eBook copy of The Key Class. Do you have a question about business or social etiquette? Ask John at [email protected]. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook and follow John on Twitter @johnjdalyjr. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Elizabeth Wagner
Elizabeth Wagner
"I consider myself to be an up front and honest agent and willing to talk my clients out of purchasing a property that isn’t right for them or won’t meet their needs in a year or two."

Full Profile >