Friday, 7 December 2012

Branding is a choice. Why then, if it's so obvious do people still find it hard to do?

I’ve just spent 2 days in Istanbul delivering speeches and workshop sessions on brand storytelling at this year’s Middle East Marketing Conference. A brilliant show and huge kudos to my fellow speakers.

Someone mentioned something to me before I stepped on stage.. [something like] “great shirt, you must be creative”. I thought little of it at the time but I knew there was something in that comment that said so much more about the way we perceive the world and as a result, do business.

Branding is a choice.

A brand is built on a thousand actions.

A brand owns a specific and unique place in our head – nothing else has the authority or authenticity to do so.

Hence you and I will spend more for a jacket with a Nike tick on it over the same top from Tescos. All this we know.

The same is for business.

I had a choice when I started this business. I could call myself ‘Founding Director’ and have printed cards and an email sign off to say so.  But I stand for something far more ambitious and exciting than reassuring professionalism.

We exist to help people solve the worlds problems.

How we do it is combining adult learning and design thinking to make visual workshop experiences.

What we do is facilitate leadership workshops and projects.

There’s a great deal of creative lubrication to make this happen and one way to help build that brand is through what we say, how we say it, what we wear and how we wear it and what we write and how we write it. So my shirt was a conscious choice as every moment I’m consciously building a brand (or at least doing my best to do so).

So thinking back, I guess I’ve heard the ‘colourful shirt = colourful mind’ arguments a lot.

I guess I am part of the crowd who are all building creative brands in the same way as me. We’ve all made choices to do so. Oddly enough, I’ve never known anyone in a colourful shirt to point at a guy in a suit and say the OPPOSITE. I’ve never heard anyone in my line of business say that people who wear suits made little choice to do so. In fact they spend a great of money on some of them as do I my shirts.  Suits are an extension of personal brand. NOT of or for the non-creative, the dull, the boring, the risk averse and the cynical.  Yet folk like that (often ‘branding experts’) are quick to tell me a great deal about how I appear to them.

And in so doing THIER brand is built by THAT action.

It would appear then, something so obvious is sometimes very hard to do.
Even by those who are quick to tell us we have nothing to offer them.

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