Monthly Archives: December 2010

Letting your brand live and breathe

In the last post I discussed what a personal brand is by using the example of Abraham. The article acknowledged that a brand is not what we want it to be. It is how the rest of the world perceives the brand. To recap, Abraham has many traits that are presented in the Torah and Midrashim. However, he is best known as the patriarch that exemplifies Chesed (kindness). Therefore, that is the most outstanding attribute of brand Abraham. Our brand is similarly a reflection of how the world perceives us.
Once we know how our personal brand looks to the rest of the world, then we are presented with another problem. We may develop a tendency to micromanage our brands to the point where they seems artificial. For example, if Abraham were aware of his brand, and was motivated to promote it to the point where he made it seem like Chesed was his only character trait, then he would no longer be recognizable as the biblical ancestor we know and love. He may have rejected G-d when he was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac, because that runs counter to his kindness brand. Yet, he wouldn’t be Abraham if he rejected the request. When we micromanage our brands to the point where they are too limited, people begin to lose trust in the brand. Our brand should be more like a person, who isn’t always consistent. Marty Neumeier says:
“Let the brand live, breathe, make mistakes, be human. Instead of trying to present a Teflon-smooth surface, project a three-dimensional personality, inconsistencies and all. Brands can afford to be inconsistent— as long as they don’t abandon their defining attributes. They’re like people. For example, in the morning you can wear a T-shirt, and in the evening a dress shirt. One moment you can be serious, and the next laugh out loud. Despite these apparent inconsistencies in your dress and demeanor, your friends and colleagues will still recognize you. What makes you “you” is deeper than appearances and moods.”(Neumeier, Marty. The Brand Gap. MBS Direct 133 – 134)
Brands should be recognizable despite inconsistencies, much like you are still you regardless of how you are dressed or the state of your mood.
The Jewish scriptures are full of people with strong character traits that can be perceived in hindsight as their personal brands. Yet, if one reads the different biblical accounts, these characters are human personalities with inconsistencies and imperfections. If not, they would appear to be artificial, and no one would believe the accounts of their stories. King David, for example, was a righteous man who loved G-d and Torah. One only has to read the book of Psalms, especially Psalm 119, which is the longest chapter in the Jewish scriptures, to know his strong love and devotion for G-d’s precepts. Yet, he is also a very real character with equally strong human emotions, as were displayed in the story about Bathsheeba. It may be that the story seems inconsistent with David’s brand, but it makes him real, and trustworthy.
As we develop our own brands, and take account of what others say about us, we must be careful to let our personal brands breathe and grow. This is especially important as we interact on social networks. Yes, we must guard our brand and not post things that would put ourselves in a bad light. Yet, at the same time, if we are only selling our brand at every moment, and never allow it to be human, people will begin to mistrust us, and may stop reading our posts. This may be more detrimental to our business goals than allowing small inconsistencies. Let your brand be human. Be inconsistent, but not counter-productive to your brand. Be a real person in your online presence. Don’t oversell yourself; if you have something valuable to say people will listen. If you do these things you will find that your brand will be trustworthy, which is what will sell your brand more than anything else you can do.

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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Uncategorized


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