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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Business Chat - A branding lesson from a tennis superstar

This morning I picked up my newspaper from my front porch and gave it a cursory glance, it`s Monday and nothing happens on a Monday. Wait, stop! Rafael Nadal is front page! Nadal is one of tennis` greatest players ever, I love watching tennis and I love watching Nadal play. Seeing his picture means that there`s something worth reading, on a Monday!

So what does my geeking over a tennis player have to do with anything?

When I see Nadal`s picture I can`t wait to read about his latest tennis match. For tennis fans Nadal never disappoints, I already know that the match was amazing, nail biting exciting and it`s the first thing I will read.

I approach the article with a set of expectations, an emotional involvement and a positive feeling. Nadal has a very strong brand and it is all good.

This is what is relevant – brand.

I read the article first because I know what to expect and I like what I know, the rest of the paper is put aside. This is what you want customers to do when they see your work or hear your name. You want your brand to be so strong that they geek out with excitement at the mere mention of you.

Many people think branding is all about making sure you are consistent with fonts and colours. Yes, that`s part of it. Consistency is incredibly important in all aspects of your business. Branding however is far more than the graphic look and feel of your company.

Branding means that your customer has a warm fuzzy feeling about your company. It is their emotional state and thoughts when they hear your name or see your work. It is their expectations when they see a package from you. It is how they expect to be treated when they call you.

Your brand is the customers` entire experience when they have any dealings with you and your company.

No matter where you are in the evolution of your crafty venture branding is critical. You can always fix typos on a website, fixing a negative feeling in a customer is a lot harder.

For creative people your brad is very much based on your values. You cannot be someone you are not, trying to do so will only come across as fake, never a good thing.

There is no roadmap on how to brand yourself, no 10 steps. The most important way to build your brand is by being consistent in everything you do. Stick to your policies (that means you have to have them in the first place). If you blog daily, then always blog daily. If you state that you ship online orders within 48 hours then always do that. Whenever you set expectations, meet them.

One idea I found helpful is to list 5 emotions you want the customer to feel when they hear your name or see your work. Post that list somewhere very visible in your work space. Every time you have any dealings with a customer, or are anywhere in public, in the back of your mind think, does this action reinforce those emotions?

Be consistent and think of your customers emotions. Maybe one day someone will be geeking out over your picture on the front page of the newspaper. 

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