Author: Amada Funk of The Funk and Jackson Group
I have to say that my presentation on September 7th blew me away. I was in a room filled with amazing and passionate women- women who had a fire in their bellies, were ready to take charge of their world, and have fun while doing it. I would like to say thank you for having me and recap what I had the honor of sharing with you.
Branding is a topic that often gets muddy pretty quickly. When you start your business, you are rushing to get things like business cards, brochures, signs and websites produced and ready to do business. You start by going online to design your card; maybe you check your network for graphic designers as you try to figure out what you want for a logo and what colors you want. You need to determine what your slogan is - what is your elevator speech? Once you’ve figured that out you think you have crafted your “brand” and you are looking to grow your business.
But you’re not quite there.
This is where the idea of branding gets muddy. Let’s start with the word brand. It has many definitions from an insignia on cattle to identify a herd animal, to what your business’s reputation is. That’s where I will draw your focus, because you either set your business’s reputation by what you present to your clients or your clients brand you based on your work.
What the heck does that mean? I thought my logo and website are important- and they are! Please allow me to clarify: it is not what your business looks like; it’s how your business appears. What is the idea your customers and potential customers have formed about you based on your work, your appearance (is your business casual? or suites and heals?), how do you answer the phone or respond to emails? How do you meet and manage client expectations?
These are all the true elements that make up your brand. Eventually you are what people think of when they see your logo. Think of Walmart vs Target as a business. They both sell the same products at nearly the same prices, yet have very different brands. Neither brand is wrong, but you have an instant response when you hear their business names or see their logos. This is what happens to your logo, website, business name as you build your public reputation. You don’t choose to do business with one company over another based on their logo, but their brand as a whole.
So what actually goes into your brand?
- You- It’s mostly who you are professionally and personally.
- Your logos and colors – but think of them as the wrapping paper for your company.
- Your reputation- what the public says or thinks about your business. (Walmart vs Target)
With that in mind, we did a FUN experiment. I divided the room up into three groups with their business cards. I asked them to exchange cards and try to guess what the woman standing in front of them did based on their card and image they were presenting that evening. We had some fantastic results! Women were able to look at their businesses through the eyes of a potential client. Why is that important? Because it simply does not matter what you think your brand is, it’s what the public thinks your brand is.
Women walked away with a greater understanding of their businesses and brands. They left informed and ready to clarify or recapture their brands. All and all, it was a great night!