Who are You? (apologies to Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey…)

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I once met someone at a networking event who was handing out business cards, refrigerator magnets, notepads, and pens. What was remarkable about this rather ordinary practice of using promotional products to promote a business was that each of these pieces—while using the same business name—showed a completely different logo.

It was bewildering. I liken it to going to a party and introducing yourself by a different name to everyone you meet.

Who was this company? There was no one image with which to identify. Was this company going to change its presentation to suit whomever it was dealing with at the moment? I couldn’t trust anything about this business with a split personality.

When it comes to branding, consistency is essential. You must decide on what the authentic personality of your business is and then be true to it.

Let’s say your business personality is young, hip, and playfully irreverent. You’re certainly not going to have your staff dress in pin-striped business suits. And on the flip side, if your business personality is conservative, serious, and forthright, it’s not a good idea to have a front desk receptionist who chews gum and cracks jokes with everyone who comes through the door.

People do business with and buy from companies with whom they form personal attachments, and those emotional bonds can only be created with a business they know and trust and with whom they can identify.

Once you define what your company’s personality is, you must do all you can to convey that personality in everything your company does. What is said—and how—when the phones are answered. How you and your employees dress. What your logo looks like. What your external and internal communications say. What colors are in your company’s palette.

The list goes on and on.

It may seem daunting at first to think of every permutation to which you must attend. Once you are focused on your true personality, however, you’ll be surprised at how easily everything else falls into place.

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