Today, I’m going to do a little Q&A.

These are 4 questions, about Brand, that I found on Quora. I picked ones related to one another that when answered and combined, should help to give you a strong overview of what it means to build a strong brand, whether it’s for yourself or your company.

What is the importance of building a brand?

Above all else, there are two primary purposes for building a brand.

First, it carves out and defines a space for you in the minds of others. This helps them to quickly associate you with a certain idea.

For instance:

  • Volvo is Safety.
  • Red Bull is Excitement.
  • Brene Brown is Vulnerability.

Once you have that association, you own that mind space until a stronger Brand knocks you out of place.

The second reason why it is important to build Brand, is that it serves as a North Star to guide your decisions as a company or as an individual. Once your Brand is defined, it should guide your actions to create an association in the mind of those who interact with you.

In short, the two big reasons why it is important to build a Brand are both mental models:

  1. One mental model helps the consumer/customer/employee/stakeholder quickly understand and recall what you’re all about.
  2. The other mental model gives you shortcuts for decisions.

What are good strategies for managing your personal branding?

man in white sweater holding round mirror

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to manage personal brand, happens at the start: establishing the brand.

Many people build their personal brand by accident. They let the accumulation of their words and actions create a personal brand for them without first considering how they want to think, speak, and act to build a specific brand that is authentic and aligned with their deeply held values.

You can either let your actions add up to establish your Brand, or you can define the end and then let your actions add up to somewhere in a deliberate way.

Along the way, your best bet to manage a personal or professional/business Brand is to see every single touch point and interaction as a Branded experience.

  • How you word your emails is a Brand experience.
  • How you answer the telephone is a Brand experience.
  • The clothes you wear are a Brand experience.

EVERYTHING can be a Brand experience and even choosing which of those things to focus on is an expression of what’s important to you.

To get a grip on it: analyze one week of your life and look for any place where you are faced with an interaction or a decision that would send a meaningful signal to others about your values and goals. Then, at the end of the week, decide which of those decisions should be deliberately designed to align with what is most important about your Brand.

As for me, everything I do is on Brand: my sneakers, my hair style, my email signature, my Linkedin headline, even the animated GIFs I bring into my Zoom conversations. By on Brand, I don’t necessarily mean red (#f00f28), I mean an authentic representation of me: my values, my personality, my style, etc.

How do you differentiate your brand in a crowded market?

timelapse photo of people passing the street

There are two big reasons to differentiate:

  • Differentiation increases the likelihood of being remembered.
  • Differentiation increases the likelihood of being selected among competing options.

Therefore, the keys to differentiation can be found by asking two questions:

  1. What are some unique words or phrases you can use to describe the Brand?
  2. What is something that would be meaningfully different about the way you do things versus the existing and competing solutions in the market so as to resonate with a particular audience ?

Simply put: pick a position that is unoccupied, for a specific audience, and describe it in a way that is different and memorable.

For example, I wrote a Leadership book. I could’ve called it 10 things every leader needs to know. But, I didn’t. I called it *The Lovable Leader.* It’s not just a book about leadership… it’s a book about Lovable Leadership. There are other books with leadership philosophies that are similar, overlapping, or aligned, but there is only one Lovable Leader. I chose a memorable term.

Further, I didn’t write a leadership book for everyone. I wrote a leadership book for new managers. Even deeper, it’s for new managers who want to lead with trust, respect, and kindness.

I have tried to make it very easy to select my book among the crowded space of leadership books.

It’s a differentiated brand, and I own it.

Why are digital marketing and social media marketing important for branding?

black iphone 4 on brown wooden table

In a world with nearly unanimous adoption of smartphones, internet, and social media, digital marketing represents the single largest ecosystem for interactions that the world has ever seen.

  • It’s where we search for everything.
  • It’s where we connect, share, and gripe.
  • It’s where we purchase everything from services to products to non-fungible jpegs of drunk apes on a yacht, all stored on a blockchain.

It’s the everything and the everywhere, and your Brand is a part of it regardless of how much or how little you participate. People can talk about, review or share about you whether or not you even have an internet connection. If you do participate, at least you have a seat at the table to influence how people perceive your Brand.

So, why are these ways of communicating and listening so important? Because it represents the most effective methods of reaching the people who would resonate with your Brand. Your choices of how you interact and where you allocate time and resources, is another signal that contributes to your Brand positioning.

Maybe it’s time for you to work on your Brand.

While reading this, did you feel like maybe you have some work to do on your Brand?

If so, then here’s what to read next…

On understanding Brand…

On differentiation, language and clarity…

Or, if you want help building your entire business, check out…

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