Brand building isn’t really that hard to do, but it takes commitment, time, strategic discipline, message clarity and multi-channel integration. I often find that Mark Twain got it right when he said, “If I had more time, I’d have written a shorter letter.”
Less is more. Always.
In today’s world, we can insert “blog post” or “email” or “speech” where Twain said “letter.” It is in that spirit I share these simple yet profound quotes that, at their core, are the fundamental elements of effective brand-building.
“Do good, and get caught.”
We all know what happens when we do bad… We tend to get caught. How can you always get “caught” doing the right thing? There’s an art to it, and a fine line to never cross.
Never do the right thing ONLY to earn points. Avoid that by being authentic. Truly help people without an expectation of a direct payback. Be genuine about your passion to help repair the world, an organization or a person.
We all know the phrase, “Your reputation precedes you.” We visit an organization’s website and conduct a search before we meet in-person. Your LinkedIn profile is often a top search result when you Google your own name.
If you’re a good person or organization, your authentic reputation works for you. And if you’re a bad person, you not only need to leave town, you probably need to leave the planet. We live in a small, interconnected world today.
Rabbi Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”
Do the right thing, authentically and for the right reasons. And then get caught. ;)
“You can’t build your reputation on what you’re going to do.”
This is the only quote I have posted in my office. It reminds me — every day — that what we do TODAY makes TOMORROW happen. It’s the cumulative impact of all your deeds that truly define you.
I wish every elected official truly understood that your reputation is formed in your rearview window. Your actions — not your promises — define your reputation.
In America, we “vote” with our feet and our wallets. Not our mouths. So show up. Do something great for all the right reasons. And your reputation will surely follow.
“The best answer is ‘E', all of the above.”
I’m often asked, “So, to get the word out, should we advertise, get publicity, incorporate the info into an upcoming speech, send an email, post via social networks, or simply make targeted phone calls?”
The best answer is almost always, “’E’, all of the above.” It’s not about you or me. It’s about how people want to get information in today’s world.
Pew Research regularly provides updates on the fast changes underway in how people acquire information. Just think about today’s evening newscast. Some people watch it live when it’s broadcast. Some record it to watch later. Still, others go to the station’s website to see the story. And other people only see it if someone in their social network flags it for them.
Here’s another way to think of this: Sally reads the daily paper when it’s delivered to her driveway. Carlos reads it online. Amanda sees the social link and clicks through. And Kim hears the excerpt on the local NPR station.
When determining which media “channels” to use to disseminate your story, you’ll miss part of your audience if you don’t use them all. Remember, it’s all about “recipient-oriented communications” which essentially mandates it’s what they need to hear, not what you want to say.
My parting advice for this post is what we often refer to as the “Hippocratic Oath” of marketing: Do no harm to the brand. As long as you work every day to do the right thing as you build and strengthen your brand, you will be successful over time.