What’s in your brand?



It’s Tuesday, which is always a good day to think about you, now the stresses of Monday are over! In a recent web-tracker report, Tuesday morning and Sunday evening are the busiest times of the week for job search websites, so I wanted to inspire some thought and conversation on this ‘Tyr’s day’ – named after a Norse god!

As you’ll note, I’ve indicated the world’s most popular brand logos on this page. Some will be familiar, others less so, particularly in the UK market. If you were naming your ‘best’ brands, what would they be and what criteria would you use to select them?

In recent research, the globe’s 100 most powerful brands have pretty standard key attributes, 90% of which are formed from a reputation of quality / solidity and trust. Brands which have seen the most significant declines are those that have seen reputational damage caused by product quality, technical issues or poor customer care. Most frighteningly, the brands that have seen big declines are also subject to some of the most critical customer / client feedback or NPS, suggesting a low level of brand advocacy.

Whilst this may sound catastrophic, let’s consider that even those brands in the low part of the ‘top 100’ are part of a global advertising spend of $500BN and have significant profile when compared to you or I or often, the businesses that we run or work within.

I’m fortunate to have worked within and have close relationships with people who work for top 100 brands. The overwhelming desire in these businesses is market share maintenance and / or continual improvement – as you could argue, without the latter, wouldn’t others just overtake? Where continual improvement isn’t product led, a constant restructuring of the business is often another option to keep the fittest fit and the ailing making ‘career choices’ and whilst many career dreams have ended due to the fact that ‘brand x’ is no longer #1, many of these corporate exiles have become inspirational thinkers and leaders in the business and coaching community. Can you think of a few? 

As a reader of this piece, you may well be a corporate exile.You may well be someone who is undergoing personal change right now: retirement, ill health, grief or divorce. You could be heading off for an exam, interview, TV show panel or simply popping out to the local coffee house for your morning caffeine lift.

Like 53% of the western working age population, you could be going to work, commuting for a weekly wage or a monthly salary, and whatever else is going on in your life, the current economy demands you to be the best, to be reliable, trustworthy and deliver quality – the same qualities that our ‘top 100’ brands possess.

This is why I believe all of us need to try and define ourselves as a brand. How we go about this is slightly different depending on the type of job we do or the type of ‘event’ you want to set your stall out for, but there’s some common directional tips to help you create your brand:

  1. What are you trying to achieve? (For life, career, job or event)
  2. What are you really passionate about? (Both in and out of work)
  3. What gets you up in the morning or wakes you in the middle of the night? (Good and bad)
  4. Where do you add value? (Think creatively!)
  5. If you were on a supermarket shelf, would you be a promotional gondola endeye level, or in the bargain basket? (in short find what your ‘brand’ do better than anyone else!)

If this sounds a little ‘American’, well damn it, it is a little! If you think about those brands at the top of this piece, it’s not just market capitalisation and consumer reach that puts them there!

So, once you’ve answered the five statements above and scribbled your mind-map (please don’t lose focus of the goal in all this) you’ll have a load of words that should start to form a ‘brand statement’ that can be built into an honest, single and memorable paragraph that should resonate with you.

At the end of the day, if you’re unable to answer the questions right now – its fine. If you’re happy, in the perfect job and have great prospects – that’s fine too. What I would say, is keep thinking about your brand, and watch for the ghouls of complacency haunting you. Good brands can always go wayward – the UK high street is riddled with them right now.

If you’ve found that the brand you’d like to be is different to what’s currently on display, what is it that you’d like to change if you could? What’s stopping you? Is it something superficial or infrastructural? 

Whatever you’re now thinking, whether this was useful or not, my final note would be to remember to evolve! In the current climate, there’s always someone or some business that’s creating their own USP similar to yours  – and like it or not, they’re heading your way! 

Who (for some reason) today is going to be Sellotape. (Incredibly useful and copied by inferior substitutes!)
(WIth thanks to many sources including Nielson, Safeway and GfK for their research assistance in compiling this article)

About The very mobile mentor...

"Life is the name of the game, and I want to play the game with you" as Bruce Forsyth used to sing at the top of 'The Generation Game'. This blog is all about observational, irreverent but sometimes deeply emotional musings of everyday life from my perspective.
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