What do you mean by Brand?
Answering this question often feels like I am talking about black holes, existentialism, or the ending to the movie “Inception”.
When people think about “branding” they usually go one of two ways.
- Immediately start to talk about how cool Under Armour’s logo is or how Coca-Cola has its own red.
- Not have any idea what I am talking about.
The truth is, they are both right. And both completely wrong.
Because this concept is so difficult to understand for most people, it is hard for them to see the value in branding, which makes our job of selling social media services all that much harder.
You see, unless you are running paid advertising, Social media marketing is almost a branding play; a long-term game you play in an effort to build a relationship with your current and potential customers. You shouldn’t be trying to sell to them at every turn. You should be trying to provide value all the time.
You should be building a brand.
So, what types of things should you be thinking about when it comes to building your brand or understanding what it is in the first place?
1) The “behind your back” test
Think about the last time you met a person for the very first time. You probably said the typical “nice to meet you”, talked about where you are from, what you do for a living, and all the other typical first-time meeting you types of things. You might have moved on to some other topics like your favorite TV show or the last vacation you went on and started to get a feel for who they are as a person. You probably got a pretty good read of who they are.
You probably developed an opinion on this person and when you get home, you aren’t afraid to share it. What do you say about this person? Did you like them? Would you hang out with them again?
How do you answer the question “What do you think about so-and-so?” That is “brand”.
What do people say about your business behind your back? What is their overall attitude towards it? Do they like you? Think you are fun? Find you annoying? Dirty? Weird?
If your business were a person, what would they say about it? This is a great first test in understanding brand. Think about that person again in the original exercise. Would you hang out with them again? Would you bring your friends around that person?
Do you see how important this is for your business now?
2) Forget colors and fonts, what is your tone?
Tone is very underrated and almost completely ignored facet to branding.
“What is your tone” is one of the first questions we ask any client we work with and they often don’t know how to answer it. Are they Fun? Serious? Loud? Energetic? They often don’t know.
We have become very good over the years in establishing tone for clients. We are able to discover the overall identity of a business and give it a tone to match.
For example, we worked with a nutritionist who was, let’s call it, passionate. His tone was often intense, used cuss words to get his point across, and conveyed a lot of energy and passion. On the flip side, we have worked with a number of B2B companies that had a much more serious tone that focused on education and thought leadership.
A good exercise to go through when deciding your tone is to try and imagine your business as a person and every time you write something, you have to ask yourself, “Would that person say this?” Establishing an avatar for your business will help you discover that tone, and make it consistent throughout all of your marketing.
3) The Golden Rule Applies To Business Too
In order to understand the final part of how I define brand, we have to go back to a lesson that we all learned back in middle school.
Treat others like you want to be treated.
At the end of the day, you want people to feel good about doing business with you. You want them to feel like every interaction they have is the best one yet. This establishes trust and keeps people coming back for more. When you treat new customers the way that you would want to be treated (Even when that means giving in to those slightly unreasonable people). You will be establishing a brand that people know cares about them.
After all that, would you still say that branding doesn’t have a positive ROI?
Think of the last time you just had an overall terrible experience with a brand. Would you shop there again? Do you suggest it to your friends? My guess is absolutely not.
A strong brand is something that can take your business to the next level, and social media is the best way to do it.