When your brand is where it should be, you find that the people coming to you are more aligned with what you have to offer and how you like to work. They value your process. They understand your approach. You don’t have to convince them; they already agree with you.
They are your favorite people to work with. You want more of those, right? Of course you do. If your brand is on target, the right people are attracted to it. It almost feels like magic.
So, how can you make your brand magically work for you?
First: You don’t control your brand. Your brand is built in the minds and hearts of the people who come into contact with you. They use every experience, every piece of collateral, every word you say in the building of your brand. Your job, then, is to give them the very best building blocks you can. This is how you increase the chances that they build your brand the way YOU envision your brand.
Imagine your brand as a castle. You know what it looks like, you know all the pieces of it and all the secret passageways. You want people to see that same castle, secret passageways and all, on their end. But you can’t pick up the castle and insert it into their brains. You have to give them the bricks and help them build the same castle on their end that you built on yours.
If you give three different people the same pile of bricks and tell them to build a castle, what do you think you’d get? You’d get three castles, sure. And the castles would be similar, because they all started with the same bricks after all, but there would be differences. One might have three towers and another might have two; one might have a wall around it and another might have an extra wing instead.
When three different people form three slightly different images of your brand, what happens? One might know you have expertise in a specific niche, while the others might think you’re more of a generalist. One might know about the main services you provide, but not know about the full spectrum of what you can do. One might think of you as buttoned-up and intellectual, while another thinks of you as smart and witty, while yet another thinks of you as (sorry) kind of a stick in the mud.
Those slight differences add up to people sending you referrals that aren’t quite right. They add up to long term contacts not getting in touch with you about a project you’d be great for, because they didn’t know you could do that. They add up to a client roster full of almost-rights, instead of a roster full of clients you adore, and who adore you right back.
People often ask me if business cards really matter that much. After all, most of us enter the information into a database or address book and then recycle the cards, right? But when you meet someone new, your business card (or your lack of a business card) is often one of the first impressions they have of you. Depending on who you are trying to reach and the image you want them to build of you, you might choose to have cards or not; to include your physical address or not; to invest in heavy card stock or use something more standard. All of those choices have impact on the brand THEY build for you.
This is why we say that brand goes beyond logo. Your logo is a fundamental part of your brand — it’s a big ass brick — but all the other ways you communicate with people are part of it too. Every piece of communication you put out there, every interaction you have, is a brick.
Some bricks are more important than others, some are bigger than others, but they all matter. They are all part of the whole.
So the question becomes: what kinds of bricks are you sending out?