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 in fact, they refer to common trivialities well known to everybody. I am going to 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 the preferences of the villagers.
At one moment, one of them began receiving more clients 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 a 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 noticeable 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 directly a directed communication plan, the personal brand is not a wish list for Santa Claus! The brand is, after all, is the sum of perceptions that others effectively have about you, not considering your promotion efforts.
There are companies which have invested billions of dollars promoting themselves in a certain direction as a brand and the public didn’t “buy” the idea as it did not fit with its current perception about 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 to 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” and so they resolved the situation. Similarly, Marlboro created some 6 different flavors of Marlboro. The public was confused and asked: “What is this?” , decreasing the sales. The company returned to a single flavor, the classic one, and only then did the situation started bit by bit to get right.
It is time to understand that, for your target audience, you are not who you want to be. 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!