I heard a talk by Patty Azzarello on personal branding at a recent Women in Consulting meeting. I was inspired to buy her book, “Rise.”
In her straightforward fashion, Patty cut through all of the hype around personal branding and talked about how your brand is what people already perceive about you – the best parts of what you do. You can read her blog Build Your Personal Brand Value here.
Now, on a personal level this branding advice works very well. It’s refreshing to focus on your strengths and acknowledge/forgive yourself your weaknesses. I’ve used this advice already in new client meetings and a singing audition, and found it enormously helpful in both cases.
But clearly it applies as well to businesses. Your brand is not what you say it is, or what your design firm says it is. It starts with how people perceive your business, as a product of your actions. If you do not take that into account and work from that starting point, then you’re hitting your head against a wall.
This is not to say you are limited to what you’ve already got. The brand is more the ‘best self’ or the Platonic ideal of yourself or your company. (See, reading Plato in college did finally pay off.)
You have to understand this when you are doing content marketing – because how you engage with prospects and customers in this endeavor needs to be consistent with your brand, your best image of yourself as a company. Even if you’re trying to change the market perception of your company, you’ve got to start from where you are and work from there.