What is a brand?
A brand is a promise.
Whether a company is making that promise to you, or to a value they uphold, the consistency of the message should be the same.
Nike honours athletes through apparel.
Apple builds tool to those who think differently and try and change the world.
Starbucks promises a daily affordable luxury….each of them occupies a sub set within a “category of need.”
Here is a test. Without further thought, grab a pen and write down the first name that comes to mind in these categories:
- A search engine
- A company that makes a soft drink
- A luxury car manufacturer
- A computer company
It’s pretty obvious who occupies brand mind share in those need categories. I’m guessing that you have written down Google, Coca Cola, Mercedes and Apple. If you have, then you share the same answers as 85% of people.
Why have so many people written down the same names when there are dozens of competitors?
What has Mercedes got to do with you as a brand?
Google was not the first search engine and it’s not the only one, but I bet you haven’t seen an advert for it recently. You just know it works. You don’t need to go to Yahoo or Bing. Google has kept its promise to you.
Why go elsewhere?
That logic can't apply to every industry, surely? What about plumbers, accountants, online marketing professionals etc…?
Is it different? Can instant recall of market leaders only work for corporations?
Does that transfer to an industry make solely of individuals?
Let’s think about the acting profession. One of the hardest industries to make a living, with no shortage of people willing to work for free and yet most of the highly paid work goes to a tiny percentage at the top.
Who is an action hero? An intelligent villain? A nice guy who has a series of mishaps with hilarious results? The list becomes fewer. It’s now down to maybe ten actors in each of those categories.
Why? It’s not down to talent. It could be down to luck, location and hard work but I think we know.
It’s the promise.
It’s the promise that this person IS the action hero. Whether that’s Arnold, The Rock, Jason Statham, it doesn’t matter.
We as consumers, KNOW. This person is the real deal. We don’t need to relearn about them. They are reinforcing their brand to us.
Why don’t we do the same with our professional lives?
I believe it’s because one of the hardest challenges is to actually condense who you are professionally into a sentence…..
But we should.
The future of work, regardless of pay and skill grade, is moving to a more temporary and remote footing.
This means that companies or individuals will have more and more specific requirements on the roles and tasks that need completing.
This gig economy will function across borders, with people searching within their networks and occasionally, outside it, for increasingly specialised, shorter bursts of work.
Unless you stand out with high value skills and examples of how you have kept your promise, you will be left out.
Think about your unique skills. Your experience. Your emotional qualities. Your value for money. What makes you, you.
Because in this scary world of short term work, lie big opportunities.
A highly skilled, short term task is completely different to a job that anyone can do. There may be millions of dollars in value that can be achieved from your efforts.
You are what Google says you are. Isn’t it time to start making a promise to people that come into contact with you?