Kickstart Monday: How to Define Your Brand With 3 Simple Words



And suddenly it's Tuesday...

I'm going to start by saying, yes, I do realize that it's Tuesday and I am suitably embarrassed and mortified that episode 2 is late. My only excuse is that sometimes, no matter how well you prepareeven when the podcast is taped, edited and ready to go, things go sideways. It happens.

And since there is no graceful way to segue, I'm just going to jump right in with this week's topic, crafting your brand.

When was the last time you thought about your brand? 

Do you even have a brand? Would you be surprised or maybe even a little horrified to hear that you have a brand whether you've actively cultivated it or not.

Define Your Brand

Good, bad or otherwise, you get one chance to make a first impression and if you let people draw their own conclusions it's like playing Russian roulette with your reputation.

People are unreliable. They come to the table with their own experiences, prejudice and expectations and you don't know what you're going to get until they walk in the door. The only way to overcome this bias is by showing them the image you want them to see before they have a chance to draw their own conclusion.

The good news is that defining your brand is a lot easier than you think. In fact, I've even created a super simple system that makes it easy to define your brand so that you can project a consistent brand image.

Your Brand in Three Words

Basically, what it comes down to is choosing three words that describe how you want people to see you and your business then using those words as the basis of your branding. This isn't going to give you a Madison Avenue branding package, but what it will do is help you focus and give you a checks and balance system so that you have an easy way to verify that everything you do is projecting a unified, cohesive image.

So, are you ready? Grab a pen and a piece of paper and pick three words that describe how you want people to see you. They can be personal characteristics or they can describe a specific feature or focus of your company.

If it helps, my words are creativity, skill and passion.

The key is that the words you choose should project the image you want people to see when they think of you or your business.

Take a minute right now and write down the three branding words that best represent you and how you want to be seen. Remember, three words, no sentences and don't put too much thought into this.

if you let people draw their own conclusions it's like playing Russian roulette with your reputation...

Now that you've got your words you're probably wondering what the heck you're supposed to do with them.

Let's start by backing up a little and taking a look at the big picture. You know that people judge everything you do. Every action you take, every product or service you develop, every time you meet someone, send an email, post on social media or walk into a meeting you are being judged.

You don't know what's going on in people's lives. Maybe their two-year old had a meltdown when they dropped him off at daycare. Maybe they're on a deadline and their mind is on the next task. Maybe someone who kind of looked like you didn't hold the elevator door for them. Whatever the situation is, you can't control it.

But you know what you can control? You can control how you present yourself.

This is where the three branding words come in. They are the core to your brand and everything you do, every piece of communication, every product and service and every interaction must support them.

You do this by asking yourself if your actions, interactions, products or services clearly represent the words you chose for your brand.

Let's pretend that your words were confident, smart and skilled.

Take it down to basic things that you can control every day and ask yourself:

  • How's your posture and eye contact? What about your handshake? Do they project confidence?
  • Are your written and verbal communications riddled with typos and spelling errors or do thy look and sound professional?
  • What about your work? Does it look professional?
  • Do your products and services present a unified brand?

My general rule of thumb is that your actions should support at least one of the three words. Ideally they would represent two of your brand words, but as long as at least one is there and is clearly supporting the brand you're good.

It's about cohesiveness and consistency and if you're doing it right anybody should be able to look at your website, your products or any other public facing aspect of your business and recognize that they come from you.

Remember, you can't control the bits and pieces that go into someone else's judgments, but you can make sure that no matter what else is going on in their world, people will see you the way you want to be seen if you make sure that every action you take, every product you sell and every piece of communication, whether it's in person, written or smoke signal, clearly represents your three keywords.

Have a great week!

Pat Hammond

Editor & Queen Bee at Queen City Buzz