September, Labor Day, and Branding: What does this all mean?

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September, Labor Day, and Branding: What does this all mean?

What does Labor Day mean to you? To me – besides the obvious shoutout to American workers for their contributions and achievements – it means the end of summer and that snow is just around the corner. People are back from vacation – it’s back to work for adults and back to school for kids. It’s also the kickoff to what I (lovingly) call Supercomputing season: the lead up to the annual SC conference.

From a personal and visual perspective, it’s the changing of the Aspen leaves and watching the Rocky Mountains put on their snowcaps. Soon, the snow will make its way down the mountain and into my yard where it will lay a blanket over all of the mud. This means no more muddy shoe (and paw) prints in the foyer and a postcard worthy view every time I open my front door. But I digress. September: warm days, cool nights, seasonal rains, and that smell – the September smell: crisp and fall-forward with floral notes of summer that linger across the finish. With all that is associated with September, it’s almost as if September has created its own brand!

Branding is so important. It’s defines you and/or your company and how you want to be perceived in the market. It’s the feeling you want customers to have when they hear your name or see something about your product. This is what I help define for my clients so they can ‘live their brand’.

Branding doesn’t have to be scary or daunting. I have developed a set of questions I use with my customers to help them think about their branding. You can use these too – for both your personal branding or if you are leading the branding for your company or product line. You can #JustStartToday to think about your branding.

  1. Think about the questions and answer them – all of them!
    1. How should customers view your company? How should your colleagues, customers, and prospects view you?
    2. How do you want the outside world (customers, prospects, partners, colleagues) to feel about your company, your product, or you?
    3. If your brand were a person, what kind of personality would it have?
    4. If your brand were a person, what would be its relationship to the customers and prospects?
    5. What impressions should readers take away from reading marketing collateral?
    6. Describe, in adjectives, what your company is not.
    7. How do we want prospects and customers to view <Company> and its values?
    8. Are there companies that have a similar personality to yours? Why are they similar?
    9. How do you want customers to feel about your company and products?
  2. List the key words or phrases that are prominent in your product description (or if for you, your resume). When a web search is done, who will people find you. Give some thought to this – this is part of your branding.
  3. Take the information you have gathered in the first two steps and write your content. Web content, LinkedIn profiles, Company Facebook pages, Twitter, or any other social media that is used for business should reflect the branding – make sure and use those key words! Not sure if you’ve hit the mark with your branding? Ask a friend to review your content and give their impression based on what they’ve read. This will give you a good guideline.

As I said, branding doesn’t need to be scary. You can do little things to ensure you have a consistent face to the market. For a more in-depth branding exercise / strategy session (which expands into logos, colors, website look and feel, etc.). I highly suggest you use a marketing person who has training in this area.

Side Note: Just don’t mess with September’s branding. It’s the month with the smell – love that smell.

 

 

About the author: Kim McMahon has performed sales and marketing for more years than she cares to count. She writes frequently on marketing, life, the world and how they sometimes all come together.