“Yes you! You’re the guy with the hat. The copywriter guy, right?”
“Errrr… sure, that’s me I guess. Have we met before?”
“No, no. But I’ve been meaning to bump into you buddy.”
“OK, cool. What can I do for you mate?
“Well, I saw your little shout out on the comment thread of the ‘Entrepreneurs in London‘ Meetup a month or so back. I looked out for you on the night but couldn’t find you among that bustling crowd. I’m in need of some sharp, creative copywriting skills… Jimmy’s the name. Good to meet you pal!”
The fortunate encounter (or perhaps not)
What luck! I thought at first.
But there were at least five other copywriters circling the room at that very moment. Probably a bunch more at the other networking event he’d mentioned too. And God knows how many other copywriter-swarming events Jimmy had been to over the months, weeks and days leading up to our fortunate encounter.
So why had he remembered me?
What had made Jimmy point me out among that crowded flock of tipsy, over-excited entrepreneurs?
Perhaps it was destiny. Or just pot luck. Or maybe Jimmy was secretly a stalker who’d been following me for years – lurking in shadows, hiding up trees and sitting in the corners of dimly-lit cafes with eye holes cut out of his newspaper.
No! Silly me… It was the hat!
He must have recognised the sexy, old school trilby hat that was so gracefully poised upon my head. The same hat I’d worn for my little Meetup.com gravatar pic. And my Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin & Triberr profile pics. The very same hat I wore to every single networking event and business meeting – without fail.
Yes. The hat. The source of all my power.
A typewriter enters the scene
I introduced myself to Jimmy properly and gave him my business card. He smiled.
“A typewriter. Awesome!” he replied joyfully, while feasting his eyes on my slickly-designed card. “The hat – the typewriter – I get it! Very vintage. Very creative. Nice job – I’ll remember you Konrad”
And we went our separate ways.
Jimmy did remember me. He remembered my card. He remembered my hat. He remembered the typewriter. He remembered the carefully chosen colour scheme of my clothes. And he even jumped to the conclusion that my team and I were much more creative and skilled than the other copywriters he’d bumped into…
Before even reading a word of copy we’d written!
He wasn’t the only one.
And the moral of the story is…
I know what you’re thinking. You need to get down to your local hipster boutique right now and get yourself a vintage hat – and a typewriter too!
Actually, no. I’m suggesting quite the opposite.
If all of you did that, I’d lose my unique, memorable edge – and would probably have to rebrand The Creative Copywriter…So don’t do that! (Please)
What this story should in fact illustrate is:
The Importance of powerful, memorable branding. Being unique. Standing out. And wiping the floor with your competitors in the process.
Your brand identity is your logo, right?
No, gosh darn it! It’s infinitely more.
The brand identity of your company is its personality.
Companies and products, like people, have personalities – and it can make or break them in the marketplace.
The world of business is cut-throat. It’s fierce. It’s hugely overcrowded. And consumers don’t have time to filter through all the infinite choices, closely comparing features or weighing out the pros and cons of each,
Most of the time, they make decisions based on gut-feeling.
So…In order to survive and thrive, businesses need to connect emotionally with customers, become irreplaceable, and build lifelong relationships. People fall in love with brands, trust them like siblings, and believe whole-heartedly in their superiority.
“Brand identity is tangible and appeals to the senses. You can see it, touch it, hold it, hear it, watch it move. Brand identity fuels recognition, and makes big ideas and meaning accessible. It takes disparate elements and unifies them into whole systems”
~ Designing Brand Identity, Alina Wheeler
Still think it’s just a logo, buddy?
7 must-have ingredients of a powerful brand
Eager to create a powerful company brand? Or perhaps a potent personal one? Either way, your brand identity will need to be ALL of these:
What’s your promise to consumers? What are the core values of your brand? Write them down. Focus in on just a few. These must underlie every darn business decision you make. OK?
At the core of a powerful brand is uniqueness. Originality. We notice what is different about something, not what is the same. Stand out. Be memorable.
What does the consumer feel when they experience your brand? What emotions are conjured? Your brand essence must capture these.
Don’t pull your brand identity out of a hat (no pun intended). Is it relevant to your target audience? Is it a desirable? It’s what matters to the customers, not what you say matters.
This is key. Your brand values and personality must consistently ooze out across all marketing mediums, with every design detail, every word of copy, every touch-point, every business meeting, every social media update etc.
If I showed up hatless to my next networking event, rocking a t-shirt and jeans – the inconsistency could send my brand up in smokes!
Your brand personality must be believable. And honest. Don’t promise the moon if you can’t deliver. Your audience won’t buy it.
You need a brand personality which lasts. Forever. Even if your logo and packaging gets reworked along the way, the essence should remain there. Solid. And powerful.
4 top bloggers who nail this branding thing
When it comes to awesome branding, we all know a good handful of companies that knock it out of the park. Coca Cola. Jack Daniels. Apple. Skittles. Ikea. McDonalds. Nike.
To name just a few.
But here’s a bunch of blogging rockstars, who have done an awesome job with their personal brand identities. This is why they stand out and get noticed within that jungle of online competitors.
Think my hat’s pretty memorable? Belle Beth Cooper’s got a bloomin’ crown in her profile pic!
It’s pretty much impossible to forget this crown-wearing blogging queen. And the super-chilled, light, minimal and friendly feel of her site and blog is just a pleasure to experience. It’ll make you smile.
This online marketing Goddess certainly understands the importance of consistency in branding. There’s not a single image or word on her site which doesn’t reinforce that feeling of class, professionalism and confidence.
I love the brand colour combo (of different shades of green). And all the high-quality videos. Oh – and the sexy secretary look works well too 😉
Simple move here by Carol Tice (freelance blogging extraordinaire) –> She turned herself into a cartoon character!
And because of that, her Twitter profile pic stands out like a lion among rabbits. She gets noticed. And she gets remembered.
An absolute Twitter legend here (“All hail King Aaron!”). He also knows how to keep his blog and social media images consistently branded with that light, minimal, chilled out feel to them.
I love how he presents himself as a ‘regular Joe’ (who’s mad about coffee). It makes him seem like a friendly, down-to-earth social media expert who you can trust. And yes. If you’ve chatted to Aaron, that’s exactly what he is!
What do you think?
Whack your comments in the box below. Let me know what other brands really work. Or what your own personal thoughts about branding are.
And don’t forget to press those round purple share buttons and spread the knowledge – right now!