Would you invite your brand to a cocktail party?
- BY Gary Buck
- November 5th, 2009
Hosting a cocktail party can be one of the most enjoyable experiences or one of the most frightening, depending upon your perspective. Some consider the opportunity to mix, mingle and converse with friends, both old and new, to be an exciting occasion. Others find the concept of creating great food and drinks for friends to be either a scary proposition or a chance to show off their culinary talents. But many agree that often the most difficult aspect of a cocktail party is deciding who to invite.
How do you evaluate each possible guest? You may find yourself describing each one in these terms: The life of the party. The crashing bore. The one with the great stories. The one-upper. The sweetheart. The nosy one. The interrupter. The joke-teller. The loud talker. The funny one. The name-dropper. The smart one. The smartass. The salesman. The gossip. The flirt. The perfect guest.
It’s easy to boil down the essence of a potential guest into a few words that sum up their possible contribution to the party atmosphere. Certainly, it may not be fair to make such a narrow judgment of each person, but we all have opinions based on a history of experiences with everyone we meet. Those experiences form an overall assessment that can often be distilled down to a single phrase that describes a person’s personality.
When explaining the concept of “branding” to clients, it often relates to their everyday world in terms of “personality.” Everyone has one. Some are good and some are, well… less so. But if we’ve had any experiences with a person, we can easily sum up their personality in a few words. This is their brand.
Note that a person may have dozens of “brands” depending upon which of his acquaintances you ask. His mother will describe one brand while his ex-girlfriend will likely convey something completely different. The successful business partner may sing his praises while the disgruntled employee may curse his name. The more consistent a person’s behavior across the spectrum of their life, the fewer distinct brands they will have. Alas, those brands may or may not be the ones they want.
Just as companies try to define their brand, people try to manage their personalities and reputations. But both may find this very difficult to accomplish, as a brand is determined solely by those who receive the experience. Just because you want to be known as “the smart guy” does not mean that others will not perceive you as “the smartass” instead. The best way to define your brand is by paying attention to your interactions and experiences, not to your wardrobe, hairstyle, memberships, press releases, brochures or tweets.
A man is defined by his actions, not his words.
How has your company defined its brand? Do the experiences you provide to your target markets align with that desired brand? Are they consistent across all possible customer interactions and to every audience? Are you living that brand or do you say one thing and do another? Do your buyers see you in the way you want to be seen?
Would all of your desired customers invite your brand to their cocktail party? If not, why not? What experiences do you need to redesign to change their minds? How can you get from “no, I don’t think so” to “we’ve gotta invite him”? The party is starting. Let’s get you there.
- Category: BXD BLOG