Branding You: Two
Establishing your personal brand starts when
you introduce yourself and depends in part by
declaring the credibility you bring and even by
learning to handle the credibility you don’t
have. Your success depends on building
connections with the people you wish to serve.
Who are they and why do you serve them?
Let’s address the second question first as the
answer to that question may help you define
your market and those who might seek you out.
Well-known sales speaker, author and coach,
Jeffrey Gitomer in his Little Red Book of
Selling proclaims “when all things are equal –
people will look to do business with people
they know, like and trust”. Gitomer continues
– “When all things aren’t exactly equal –
people will still look to do business with
people they know like and trust”. He is correct
Creating this connection doesn’t often
happen overnight. A true and deeper
relationship is needed to make sure business
is not merely transactional (unless of course
that’s what you seek) but built on a foundation
that lasts. This means a meeting of minds and
hearts is needed.
Several years ago, I was introduced to the
work of Simon Sinek. Sinek’s Ted Talk, “Start
with Why” answered the key question, how do
lasting business connections and relationships
happen? Sinek’s presentation weaves a simple
and yet comprehensive argument that states
the more you understand why a company is in
business the more you will relate. The more
you relate – the more you will seek them out
to do business. The more you seek them out –
the more loyal you will become; to each other.
It’s an affiliation that is built on the know-like-and-trust mantra adding the ever-so vital
element of understanding.
Sinek drew out 3 concentric circles – looking
somewhat like a bulls-eye target. In the outer
ring he wrote the word “What”. The middle
ring of the circle was labeled “How” and the
bulls-eye centre was labeled “Why”. He
called this “The Golden Circle” – I guess
because unlocking it’s secret is key to finding
where all the Gold is to be found.
Most companies offer products for sale at
competitive prices and may even explain
features and benefits to entice the customer
to place an order. Effective? Yes, but hardly
inspiring. More advanced sales professionals
may go deeper and describe “how” their
specific solution is best for them. The most
enlightened offerings however, start with the
reasons “why” that company is in business.
They do a masterful job of explaining why
they are in that specific business, making and
offering those unique products and services.
Declaring their “why” is their way of sharing
Leading companies seek to find people who
will come to embrace that very same mission
and adopt it for their very own. A shared
vision that motivates people to work together
becomes so much more powerful than the
transactional nature of business based on
price and maybe even service. Service and
price are table-stakes in today’s economy.
Connection matters most.
Let’s consider a couple of examples.
Michael Dell made his fortune by designing a
computer company with parts interchangeability and many back up parts suppliers. His
goal was to build low cost machines using
just-in-time parts suppliers and provide
customers with quick delivery times. Brilliant.
Having a Dell machine; I find that it’s a good
machine and reliable. The price was right and
delivery was fast and on time. But it’s just a
box and doesn’t inspire much passion nor do I
have any particular attachment to it. My
computer is a tool – like a good hammer or
skill saw. If something rated equal or better
came along at a better price and I needed a
new laptop – I’d buy it. Sorry Michael.
Dell nailed the “What” and possibly even the
“How” considerations of offering a perfectly
serviceable laptop but failed to create an
emotional connection with me as an example
of his intended customer base. Perhaps that’s
enough? It’s up to you to decide as consumers when you want products at a good price –
or business relationships that inspire something greater.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak of Apple
dared to base their partnership on challenging themselves to “think differently” and
“change the human condition by challenging
the status quo”. They wanted to enhance
their customers’ experience by designing their
products to break design barriers and offer
intuitive performance. Their goal was to
provide freedom from computer viruses and
guarantee performance by controlling every
element of system architecture to make sure
each and every piece of equipment
performed as intended, every time it was
used. And they specifically catered their
hardware and software to the most creative
buyers in the market.
Artists, authors, architects, designers and other
creative professionals who rely on their being
able to exploit their tools to maximize their
creative intellect and talents were among the
first users to become disciples. But the
ground-breaking connection came when the
two Steves were able to convince us that these
tools could empower “everyone” to unleash
those powers and gifts within themselves.
Everything became possible with an Apple.
As a child growing up in South Africa and later
in Canada – Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX
fame, was always fascinated by interstellar
travel. He dreamed about man’s reach for the
stars and making sure we survive long enough
to make that vision a reality. The more he
dreamt – the more he saw himself as part of
that vision and his goal to this day is to ensure
the future of the human race on this planet –
and beyond. Can you possibly imagine a more
audacious and compelling reason to drive
someone forward? Can you understand why
the dreamers among us want to be a part of
that vision? And like Apple disciples, Tesla fans
stand in line for hours and pay years in advance
for the privilege of being an early adopter for
the latest Tesla auto. When was the last time
any one of the Big 3 North American auto
manufacturers inspired such passion?
The fact that Musk has delivered beautiful
zero-emission vehicles that break the
stereotypes of yesterday’s odd-looking early
stage e-cars, deliver an exhilarating driving
experience and make all the science available
to anyone who can further the mission by
refusing to patent any of his engineering
“Intel” is proof positive of his motivation.
Given the irrefutable evidence of global
warming, there is no wonder why so many
have adopted Musk’s vision as their own and
invested their time and money to be a part of
Our success as sales people and business
leaders depends in no small part on our ability
to create meaningful, lasting connections and
loyalty. Finding people who can understand
and even embrace your reasons for doing
what you do may help you find long term
clients who think the same way. Building
relationships based on finding people we
know, like and trust helps build connections
that will benefit you both. In turn – your new
disciples will help you grow your business as
they likely know more people who may think
and feel the same way. Next time, we’ll loop
back and address that first question; who do
MARKETING & PROMOTION
THE PRIVATE INVESTOR | FALL+WINTER 2019 63
Your “brand” is simply a reflection of “you”.
Your brand begins as an introduction, becomes
an impression and finally exists as a promise.
By Bob Carter