If you are driving down the road and see golden arches peeking above the trees on the horizon, there is no question in your mind what waits for you on the other side of those trees.
If you see 3-D cows touting about the miracles of chicken on a billboard, you don’t even need to see the company name, yet you smile, maybe even laugh a little and immediately know what company it is.
If you see a swoosh on a piece of clothing you believe there is a level of quality to it, and if you don’t win the race, at least you will look good while trying.
Why? Because of one simple reason. Branding.
Those three companies are just a minute sample of millions of companies, celebrities, sports teams and even some hospitals and pharmaceuticals that have emblazoned a distinct identity in the minds of their consumers. So much so that you see a logo or hear few notes of a jingle and you automatically have some sort of emotional reaction…good or bad.
But have you ever stopped for a moment to think about your personal brand? How you want to be perceived? How things you do, and how you do it matter?
I am by no means saying that anyone should base what they do, or do not do, on the opinions of others. We all have a right to live happily as our best true self, save it does not cause harm to others.
What I am saying is if you are going to do something, shouldn’t you do the best you can do at it?
Take these scenarios that I personally encountered just in the past week:
I phoned in a takeout order at a local pizza place. My husband picked up the order, and when he did, he verified that the order was correct as per the printout that they handed him. The man at the counter reviewed the order and concurred that what was on the receipt was actually what was in the bag. Unfortunately, it was not. The receipt was what I phoned in. However, in the bag was my meal made incorrectly and a bonus large philly cheesesteak that we did not order.
I went into a coffee shop. I ordered a medium 5 shot Americano with sugar free vanilla syrup. I received a label as I just described it, attached to a large cup, filled to the brim with coffee. For my non-coffee drinking friends … an Americano is espresso with hot water, so by giving me the large cup, they just made my coffee much weaker tasting than I wanted it.
My son ordered a French dip sandwich. When the sandwich was brought home, he opened the bag to find ranch dressing on the side of the sandwich as opposed to the au jus which gives it the name French Dip.
I placed an online grocery order to a local store that is part of a large grocery chain, that I pay an annual membership to in order to be able to have the privilege of ordering online for drive up pick up. I did not receive the normal call to say that my order had been shopped and to inform me of items they were out of. I only knew my order was done by looking at my app and noticing an additional fee on the receipt. When I called to inquire about the order and the charge, the Shift Lead, in consultation with the manager, explained about the difficulties with my order and the additional charge due to not meeting the minimum charge requirements. I was surprised, but went to pick up my order, nonetheless. Being in person, I then inquired further and I was then informed that the long diatribe they gave me about my order was actually about someone else’s order and that my order was fine and they had removed the additional fee.
Although the above scenarios are all food service based, there is no malice meant towards that industry. I use these examples as they are front and center today, but similar experiences can be had in any industry. I am sure we all have stories to share. Stories with the underlying theme that there is an increasing number of individuals who do not appear to care about the brand of the company they work for, and even more importantly about their personal brand. Consumers, like myself, will come back to the establishments because of their reputation, but they will voice publicly, or privately their dissatisfaction for the individuals. Consumers may go in a different line when they go into the restaurant, or they may speak to the managers or owners about the individual. Or worse, in our world of name tags and social media, consumers may post about the perceived lack of work ethic the individual has online forever to be documented.
Is that what you want for your brand? I remember when my son was younger he would ask me what he should do when he grows up. I would tell him, “I don’t care if you are a popcorn salesman. If you can put a roof over your head, food on your table, and be happy being the best popcorn salesman you can be, then go for it.”
When everything happened in my life that changed it forever, I lost a lot. I learned at that point that so much in my life that I thought was important or that I thought defined me could easily come and go…. lifestyle, cars, belongings, friends, and even belief systems may no longer be there in the blink of an eye. However, I also learned that there is one thing and one thing alone that can never be taken away… my name. My name is who I am and what I stand for. It is my brand. No one can take it away from me and I will not give it away.
I do what I do with pride, even when no one is watching. I do it without falter as who I am is not only about what I say but how I make people feel. I know how I want to be talked about when I am not even in the room. I know that I want my brand to be on point with who I am. Do you?
Thanks for visiting!
Until next time…..
“Be the brand you want to be, before others choose one for you”