by R.A. Rowell; Branding Professional
Personal branding has become more important than ever. It matters in job hunting, freelancing, and building any sort of business – even a side-hustle! On the flip side, business brands are becoming more and more like people all the time. The social media accounts of brands you love – and brands you love to hate – have become their own personalities.
Sure, you still have celebrity endorsements. But, more and more, people want to connect with people who are directly connected to a brand. Giving faces and voices to the people that build the brand from within real people who are completely invested in what your brand stands for, makes your business more human than ever..
The power of interviews has long been known for building personal brands. Yet, many business brands – and even some people with successful personal brands – don't realize realize the true brand building value of doing an interview. Not only is it essentially free exposure, but you put a face to your brand, which is invaluable in our socially super-charged world.
If you're trying to build your personal brand, building your reputation, and marketing your skills, doing an interview with a venue that has a decent audience can be invaluable. There are many kinds of interviews. They can be done on audio podcasts, in YouTube Videos or Facebook Live chats, or in text form on blogs. Whichever type works best for you is fine. They all are effective in their respective ways.
What an interview does is to bring new dimensions to your brand, both your own personal brand (as an author or designer, for example) and your business brand. Obviously, you want to find an interviewer that asks the right questions. But, even interviews with more general questions are fine, as long as you have good and engaging answers to give.
You may not think you're great at giving an interview, but you're probably better than you think. After all, the whole point of an interview is to put you on the spot. You're going to get some unexpected questions and how you answer them can go a long way towards giving people a good impression.
So, the best thing about doing an interview? You don't really have to do the research. That's all on the interviewer to do. You just have to answer some questions. Being prepared is good, knowing the interviewer and all that. But your main job is to just be you and answer questions as honestly as you can – within reason, of course. The smarter your answers, the better you and your brand will look, of course.
Think of an interview as a conversation about your brand. Try not to stress about what questions are going to be asked. The whole idea is to come out from behind your brand and put yourself out there. That can be very difficult to do. But the rewards are well worth it. Not only do you get yourself and your brand out in front of new people, but you also bring personality to your brand and give it a face. People like to relate to people, and the more your brand becomes like a person, the more people will want to interact with it.
So, if you have a chance to do an interview, don't delay. The sooner you do it, the sooner you give you personal brand - and the brands of your related businesses - a new chance to grow!
Want to become a Brand Hero? But, not sure where or how to start? Hire the Brand Shamans and we’ll show you how!
You Can Observe a Lot By Watching Your Brand Engagement (And Your Competitors, Too!)
by R.A. Rowell; Content Creator Coach
"You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra
Oh, Yogi, of course, you can observe a lot just by watching!
The great Yogi Berra was an amazing baseball player and later a very good team manager and coach. He's also famous for saying a lot of things. Many of them, often known as "Yogi-isms" seem odd at face value, and many of which seem obvious. However, sometimes if you really think about these "Yogi-isms" you realize that there's more to it.
Observing Means Paying Attention to the Right Things
What Yogi Berra meant is that you can learn a lot from observations if you pay attention to the right things. In baseball, as well as football and other sports, there are little things to watch for to give you a competitive advantage. You may have heard of "stealing signs." Indeed, cracking the code to your opponent's coaching signals certainly helps. It's a big deal in American football, too.
Just by watching the social media pages, blogs, and other public channels of companies who are in a related field as you, or even your direct competition, you can learn a lot. Seeing how people engage with other brands can tell you what they might be doing right. In fact, you can also see what's not working, too, which is just as important. This is called competitor research. You can then adapt some of these things that are working for them to attract the same sort of brand engagement.
Beyond just taking cues from your competition, you can learn a lot by observing your own brand engagement, as well. You can glean valuable insights into what you may or may not be doing correctly just by how people interact with you (or don't). If people aren't interacting, you may want to consider how to increase brand engagement. The best question to ask yourself is "how can I offer more value?"
Watching Your Own Brand Engagement Closely Can Give You Clues About What to Do Next
Watching how people interact with your brand should give you an idea if something should work or not work. Obviously, if something you post on your blog or website is getting more views than usual or more likes on social media, then you're doing something right.
Also, it also doesn't hurt to hint at things that you're trying. It's a sort of passive market research. Social media, in particular, is a great place to test out ideas before you commit to them. But, what if your brand is consistently getting no real engagement? What is there to watch, then?
You just have to watch the right things. If your website and/or blog is getting page views, that's something. If people are liking your page, that's something. Engagement isn't always super obvious. But, it's watching the less obvious things that can give you the most important information.
For example, say you have a blog post that consistently gets views when you share it on social media. You may also have a post that gets a lot of search traffic on its own. Obviously, people are attracted to that post. Creating social media content around that post, taking quotes from it, and making attractive images out of them, is one strategy. Sometimes, you can just reshare popular content that doesn't compete with your brand, but complements your brand's values. Use a variety of strategies to attract engagement to your website and social media. Then, focus on the ones that bring the most engagement, and of course, any that bring you sales and new customers.
The knowledge and insights you need to take your brand in the right direction are likely there already for you to see. You just have to take a step back and observe. Sometimes, it's what's not being done by others, or done as well as you could do it, that you end up seeing.
The key to increase your brand engagement and jump-start your business may even already be right in front of you! Need help with creating engaging content or doing competitor research? Hire the social media, content marketing, and branding specialists at Brand Shamans and we’ll show you how!
Don't Be the Brand Who Did Too Much: Branding Mistakes That Can Seriously Hurt Your Brand
by R.A. Rowell, Branding Professional
Remember the time that Harley Davidson tried their hand at making bike soap? Yeah, that didn't go over so well.
It is very possible for a brand to do too much. Whether it's a personal brand, a company brand, or any kind of brand, people come to expect a certain image. A brand is meant to encapsulate the ideas, concepts, and values your brand stands for. When you step outside those bounds, your brand can take a serious hit.
Which branding mistakes can seriously hurt your brand?
Most Branding Mistakes Won't Kill Your Business, But the Worst Branding Mistake is to Fail to Be Consistent With Your Brand
While most mistakes will not destroy your brand, you do have to be careful. Whatever you do with your brand, you have to be consistent. If your brand goes and does something out of character, it's going to have a negative impact across your whole brand.
Yes, you can recover. Harley Davidson did, after making a lot of their hardcore fan base mad. And the product is still out there, but they no longer focus on it. So, you can backtrack and be fine. However, don't be the brand who did too much.
One thing that some brands do is try and take advantage of trends. While it's great if you do it right, plenty of brands make some weird choices. But usually, it's one ad campaign or one bad product launch, and you can go back to your brand's strengths and be fine.
But, then, brands take some really huge risks that don't make a lot of sense.
Taking Risks with Your Brand Purely to Take a Risk is Not So Bright
Take, for example, the "crunchless" Doritos for ladies. I'm not sure where that idea came from. Not only was it strange, but the way that they launched was actually kind of offensive. So what, chips are messy? Frito-Lay made a major branding mistake with that.
They actually had an interesting idea, but they launched it very badly, and it came off as sexist. Also, "crunchless" chips is NOT something you would associate with DORITOS. It was just a really bad mistake. But, you know what? They're a huge brand. They took a risk, but they bounced back.
Most brands, though, can't bounce back from a PR disaster like that. That sort of mistake can actually ruin a brand.
However, sometimes you still have to take risks with your brand, as long as that risk makes sense.
Do Everything You Can with Your Brand... Within Reason
I'd like to draw on a "brilliant" quote from Ashleigh Brilliant: "Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can "
While Ashleigh was not specifically talking about branding in this case, like people, brands can find themselves not doing as much as they can. As long as you are taking your brand in a positive direction, building on your brand's values, it's OK to take risks here and there. But never assume that you can survive taking massive risks that go against what your brand stands for.
So what if you don't want to ruin your brand? Create another brand. Yes, it's actually OK to create spin-off brands. Companies do it all the time, and sometimes the spin-offs even surpass the mothership brand.
Also, if the brand fails, the backlash is not going to be ANYWHERE near as bad as it could be. Sure, people may know your brand was associated with it. But people tend to forget the missteps by a lesser-established brand.
So what's the major take-away here? Make sure that you allow your brand to grow – and occasionally make mistakes – as long as your brand's mission is always clear in view. Advance the concepts, ideas, and values your brand has established.
When Should You Create a Spin-Off Brand to Lessen the Damage from Branding Mistakes?
If you really want to create a new direction, build a new brand. It's more work, but the worst that can happen is that brand fails badly and goes away. More likely, you'll create a new brand that brings in a completely different dimension to your business.
Even though brands can appear completely separate to the general public, many companies own several different brands. Some bigger companies own dozens, or even hundreds, of brands. Why? Because if one brand fails, your business still has all those other brands to fall back on.
What if Harley created a new brand for their bike wash products? They could have saved themselves both PR headaches and lost sales. Yeah, Harley-Davidson would have been in the fine print in the commercials and on the bottles. But very few people actually read that. The PR impact may have been completely different. But the decision to use the brand to sell the product did NOT fit and the public responded by backing away from the brand.
And if Frito-Lay had introduced the "Ladychip" as a separate brand entirely, yeah, it would have been slammed. But the new Doritos Blaze chips, which are actually quite good, saved them this time. The Ladychip ad campaign could have ruined the Doritos brand entirely had they not introduced that other on-brand product (And Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones, weird as that Super Bowl ad was, didn't hurt.)
So Frito-Lay even knew they were taking a huge risk and took off some of the heat by releasing a solid product around the same time. PepsiCo also introduced a new Mountain Dew drink at the same time with a partnering ad with Morgan Freeman. Not sure how well that went over – it's not selling at my local supermarket, but the Blaze chips are!
Don't Be the Brand Who Did Too Much
The great news is, like Frito-Lay showed, you can bounce back by having a fallback plan whenever you take a risk. Always seek to build your brand, but don't be the brand who did too much.
Harley took a hit and Doritos took an even bigger one. Doritos just had a better comeback.
Don't make the same mistake. But if you do make a branding mistake, make sure it's a "good" mistake. Make sure it fits your brand's overall plan. Otherwise, you will cause some head-scratching and, potentially, lose valuable business.
Not sure if your brand is not doing enough or may even be trying to do too much? Let us know in the comments below!
Brand Healing Journal