Do you know Jack, the blacksmith from the village? Well, he is also a brand.
What, don’t you know, Jack? Jack…well, OK then…
The Americans, as a civilization, are proud because they have “invented” some fields that use complicated terminologies, but they refer to everyday trivialities well known to everybody. I will suggest you think about the following situation: in a village, there were two blacksmiths. Each of them had a certain number of customers, depending on the needs and preferences of the villagers.
One of them began receiving more clients at one moment than the other. He was called Jack. Well, Jack was a hard-working blacksmith. Really. Haven’t you heard? Even the priest knows; when the pitchforks he was working with broke, he went to Jack and fixed them in record time. Another villager broke his satellite antenna dish and brought it to good ol’ Jack to repair it, and for a bottle of brandy, Jack helped him, and it has been working for over a year without a problem. And much more speak about Jack; it seems he is handier than the other blacksmith, who is better.
Actually… Jack is a brand! Didn’t you notice?
And the brand, as you see, is built by those who use his services. If Jack was to write a blog and the villagers would read it, Jack would be one of the prominent examples of building an image that doesn’t necessarily begin from a branding strategy but from others’ perception. Although branding, as a process, is these days defined as implying a directed communication plan directly, the personal brand is not a wish list for Santa Claus! After all, the brand is the sum of perceptions that others effectively have about you, not considering your promotion efforts.
Some companies have invested billions of dollars promoting themselves in a specific direction as a brand. Unfortunately, the public didn’t “buy” the idea as it did not fit with its current perception of the company/product.
One classic example is when The Coca-Cola Company introduced on the international market “The New Coke”, which was a rather new product than a traditional one, aimed relatively at those consuming “Pepsi”, even more than to the usual consumers of “Coca-Cola.” The result?
The sales dropped drastically. So they took the same product and renamed it “Coca-Cola Classic,” so they resolved the situation. Similarly, Marlboro created 6 different flavors of Marlboro. The public was confused and asked: “What is this?” decreasing the sales. The company returned to a single taste, the classic one, and only then did the situation start bit by bit to get right.
It is time to understand that, for your target audience, you are not who you want to be. Instead, you are who they perceive you to be.
It does not matter how you perceive what you offer.
It matters how others perceive you through what you offer!
Happy personal branding!
Marcus Victor Grant
Translation by Răzvan Goldstein of the article “Brandul lui Gigi “previously published in Romanian on the 12th of March 2011 on Discerne. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2008-present, all rights reserved.
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