It’s not enough to be memorable. It’s a good first start, but in today’s attention-deficit culture, you’re going to need more. In order for a brand to have real staying power, you must have these eight essential characteristics . Having only one or two just won’t cut it. Clarity without an emotional connection is flat, social engagement without energy is boring and remarkability without authenticity has no heart.
In other words, if you lack even one of these essentials, you risk the stability and longevity of your brand. Worse, you might piss-off or alienate your target market and inadvertently drive business elsewhere.
Here are the eight essentials:
Clarity: You must be clear about who you are, what you stand for and what you offer your clients. WHY do you do what you do? You have to be able to communicate this verbally and visually in a clear, easy-to-understand manner.
Authenticity: How congruent and aligned are you with the real YOU? In our hyped, cluttered world, people can smell a fake from miles away. They are yearning for transparency and real-ness. When your brand message is clear, authentic and aligned with your values, AND you walk your talk, you’ll attract a large following of the people you are meant to work with.
Remarkability: What is the tone and intention of your brand? Can someone see and FEEL your brand personality within seconds of engagement? It’s okay to step out of the box – in fact, it’s your uniqueness and point of difference that will set you apart. You’ve got to be willing to separate yourself from the “safe and comfortable” herd and be a little outrageous. Fearless, really. Seth Godin calls this your “Purple Cow.” Brown and white spotted cows are a dime a dozen, but a purple cow, now that’s remarkable.
Energy: Everything is made up of energy, and your brand is a living, breathing organism. With every interaction, your clients are picking up on subtle energy cues. If you don’t have any real passion for what you are doing (or you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons), your lifeless brand will sputter along, wheezing and gasping for air. On the other hand, if you imbue your brand with passion and oomph, your brand will be irresistible.
Emotional Connection: Emotions make the brain sit up and pay attention. In order to have a truly powerful personal brand, you have to understand how you make your audience FEEL. Someone once said, “People won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” This is the core of an influential personal brand. In order to resonate strongly with your target market, you’ve got to make an emotional connection. The most powerful question you can ask yourself is, “How do I want people to FEEL when they experience my brand?”
Consistency: I see it all the time; entrepreneurs putting the cart before the horse, marketing to everyone and anyone, before developing a solid brand foundation. In order to be consistent with your brand message and your marketing, you first have to create your brand platform. Take the time to identify your brand attributes and target market, develop your compelling message and create your unique offerings of value. Once you have a clear foundation, then and only then are you ready implement consistency across all of your marketing channels – from your website and blog, to workshops, speaking engagements and social media platforms.
Distinctive Design: People make a decision about you and your brand within a few seconds of initial contact, so first impressions do count. We process through our eyes, so design has a keen emotional and memorable impact on the brain. Design will speak for you when you aren’t present and has the potential to stimulate a meaningful emotional response. Make sure that your visual branding elements are not only consistent across all media (business card, website, advertising, collateral materials, social media platforms etc.), but they are conveying the message AND the feeling you want your brand to evoke.
Social Engagement: Is your brand sparking any conversations? If not, then you haven’t found your Purple Cow. A powerful, authentic brand is an act of social engagement. YOU are making the conversation happen. You are participating, connecting and collaborating.
© Liz Dennery Sanders 2010