Does Your Brand Resonate With Your Customers?

Personal branding is a hot topic of conversation these days, and with good reason.  A strong personal brand enables business owners to separate themselves from their competition and to attract and retain customers effectively.  And with the advent of new social media outlets over the last couple of years, it has become easier than ever for business owners to create dynamic brands—both for themselves, and for their businesses.  However, as technological breakthroughs continue to occur and personal branding continues to gain interest, it is important that we stay focused on the fundamentals.  Social media, book publishing, and dynamic websites are fantastic—but they must stay true to the principles of effective branding.

Today, we are going to focus on a fundamental concept: does your personal brand resonate with your customers?  When you get right down to it, a fancy logo and a great website don’t mean much if they don’t appeal to your market.  So by all means, continue to look for new and innovate ways to build your brand—but make sure that you always ask the question “will this appeal to my customers?”

Does your current brand appeal to your customers?  Take a moment and consider the following questions:

1) Is my personal brand consistent with the goods or services provided by my business? Now, this doesn’t mean that your personal brand should be focused only on business.  In fact, as you know if you’ve been reading my blog and articles, it’s important that your personal brand goes beyond just business and incorporates your personality as well.  However, you need to make sure that your personal brand remains consistent with your business.  For instance, as a retirement planner, you probably shouldn’t build a personal brand centered around reckless risk taking!  If you happen to love bungee jumping, that’s fine—but you’d better explain how it’s a calculated risk and that you balance your “hobby portfolio” with other less risky activities too!

2) Does my company brand make sense in the context of my market? There is a fine line to walk here—because on one hand, you don’t want your brand to look just like everyone else in your market.  On the other hand, your brand cannot be so far outside of the box that customers and prospects in your market don’t “get it.”  A good way to evaluate this is to compare your branding materials (i.e., logo, website, etc) to four or five competitors in your market.  If your materials are indistinguishable from the competition, your brand may need a facelift.  If your materials look like they came from an entirely different planet than the rest, you need to carefully consider whether you are too far outside the box.  All I’m saying is to “consider” whether you are too far outside the box or not.  There are definitely instances when doing the exact opposite of your competition works very well.  The whole idea is to stay conscious of it.

3) Does my personal brand and my corporate brand appeal to my customers? Is your brand attractive to your market?  If your market is retirees, they are going to be attracted to very different things than a market of teenagers.  Fundamentally, both your personal and your company brand need to appeal to customers—if they don’t, what’s the point?  Take a moment and write down five traits that your customers value highly.  Now consider your brand—does it touch on at least a couple of these traits?  If not, it may be time for a makeover!

The bottom line, when it comes to branding, is that great graphics, a strong personality, and technological innovation mean nothing if they don’t appeal to your customers.  Does your brand appeal to your market?