Brands are interesting things. A brand can be a 100 year old company with a product we all know and love (think COKE, HERSHEY), a newer company that is already global (think GOOGLE, NIKE)… or a brand is YOU. Brands can be big or small; they can change the world or they can get you to pay $.10 cents more at checkout. Brands are everywhere, but great brands don’t just happen. Great brands are BUILT.
Building a brand is a commitment. It is a choice to stand for something and to commit to making that statement in a frequent and obvious way.
Your business card is your brand… Thick or thin? Bright colors or muted? Standard 2×3.5 size or square? Clear plastic or paper? When I hand you my business card, it tells you something about my brand.
Your office is your brand… Is it old brick walls and whiteboard or is it glass and brushed metal? Does a receptionist greet me at the door, or does a engineer take off his headphones to let me in? Carpet or hardwood? Is there a water leak from the roof, or am I putting my coffee mug on custom printed coasters?
You are your brand… Do you wear your company’s tshirt or a custom suit? Tennis shoes or loafers? Timex, Rolex, Suunto, or Patek Philippe?
And it isn’t money that defines brands, it is a message. Many great start-ups that grew to billion dollar companies commit to using old doors as desks long after they can afford to custom furniture. It’s a message, an ethos, and a vision that they want to support internally and project to the world.
A consistent, repeated, reinforced message. Every single interaction someone has with you and your company either strengthens what your brand message is or dilutes it. What does your brand say?
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