05 Nov I’m Famous, But My Company Isn’t. How Do I Capitalize On My Mug?
We had a friend of the company come to us recently who is in a branding pickle. This, of
course, in.spired some creative thought and you get to benefit. In response to her questions, here is our take on the subject.
Her situation: She has a bit of a name in her industry. She has started blogging to continue that name recognition. She has her sites set on starting a lifestyle company, (sorry no more details…yet) but is struggling on the best way to promote. Does
she continue with her name only? How will people learn about her new company name and associate it with her?
She is faced with this predicament: You can brand a business, brand a person, or brand a thing. But how do you marry them all together? First a bit of review.
Branding a Business
When branding a business, the brand is built around a value, an idea, or a service. The relationships and the connections formed are with the brand name and the values of the brand itself, instead of an individual person or product. With this approach, the brand may have multiple products or product lines, services, or programs under its umbrella, and team members or employees are easily interchanged.
Branding a Thing
When branding a thing, the brand is built around a single product or a program. With this approach, the visual design, the message, and the marketing all revolve around the branded item. The focus is on how the consumer interacts with it, how it benefits them, and how they feel about it.
Branding a Person
When branding a person, the brand is built around the charisma, talent, and expertise of a single person. This person is the celebrity face of the brand. The voice is their voice, the marketing and the message comes from them and the visual brand uses their photo and likeness. With this approach, the brand completely revolves around the celebrity or expert, and the team or employees in place exist to support them.
Which Approach Is Right?
In this case, our friend has something that could potentially include all of the above. Take a company like Apple — Apple is a branded business that sells branded things like the iPod and the iPad, and had Steve Jobs, a branded celebrity leading the company. Or take Beats by Dre, created and branded to Dr. Dre, the person, but it is also a product, now owned by Apple, a company.
So what is our advice? Which approach you choose to take when branding your business
will depend on the type of business you are starting and what your goals for the business are. Specific to our friend’s situation, try this:
- Do a branding exercise for each. Refer back to the branding exercises in one of our earlier posts. Do this for both the company and the individual. See where the parallels are drawn and emphasize those. They will be the common denominators for marrying the two.
- Tell the brand story. If you are launching a new brand, why not capitalize on the notoriety of the individual? What we mean is if you have a blog or a social media presence, use this platform to tell the new story of the brand. How do you personally identify with it, or what does it mean to you? What is behind the name? People will connect with that because it is coming from someone of influence.
- Use brandspeak in your posts. If people are already watching you, make sure to integrate brandspeak that reflects the new brand into the things you are putting out into the universe. For example, do you have a specific way of naming products or services? Integrate it into your writing style. Are you promoting certain products? Integrate them into your daily life and show photos of them in use. Make your brand a part of you.
- Visually link the two brands. We mean everywhere. On business cards, on the website, on collateral. If you are a blogger, or are putting yourself out there in the press have your byline be: Joe Smith for ABC Company. By associating your name (which has clout) with the new brand, people will start to associate the two together. It will take time, but if you are consistent, it will happen.
- Be methodical. Entrepreneurs have a tendency to “fire first and aim second.” It’s in our nature and can be a great asset in some cases. In the case of brand building, not so much. Take a breath, a small moment, every time you are going to put something out into the world. Ask yourself if you have done what you can to marry the two brands. Look at it from the point of view of the consumer. Does it make sense? Do I get a feel for the person I love to follow, but still “get” the brand behind her? If you can answer yes, then put it out there. If not, try to revise it before it goes out.
Do you have a branding question for us? Or any question for that matter. We love to hear from entrepreneurs, brands, companies, and fellow marketing & PR professionals. Give us a shout and you might get lucky here!