A Brand is incremental. That’s right, incremental. It is made up of lots of little pieces that impact the whole. If you want to better understand what a brand is or how to influence it you need to understand how to see it at both a small and large level. You may not agree or understand what I’m, “on about,” but let’s start with how I define “Brand.”
A brand is described many ways but as Marty Neumier put it so well in his book, “The Brand Gap,” it all boils down to your reputation. Your reputation is what people think of you at a conscious level and an unconscious level. Your reputation is what makes people like you or not like you. It influences whether people trust you or not, and it impacts what they say and do in regards to you or your company. Basically, reputation is an abstract word that we use to group all of the little things in life that give us some hint about who a person or company is. Do you have a reputation for being nice or mean a good dresser or a poor one? Do you have a reputation for being conscientious or sloppy, timely or late, honest or dishonest? Whatever picture you have of a person is part of their reputation. There are many things that come together to give us an impression of a person or company and those things form a reputation. The conscious mind isn’t even able to keep up with all of these impressions, but your right brain or unconscious mind does and that influences our gut feelings and emotions on any subject. (The right brain is powerful and one of its big job descriptions is to take all the little pieces and then consider the whole picture).
Yes, brand and reputation are complicated beasts when you start to look under the hood, but when you just consider that everything you do impacts your reputation it becomes easier to impact how you influence it. When I wrote that a brand is incremental, I was referring to all the little things and that is how we analyze it. Imagine a line with “weak” on the left end and “strong” on the right end and lots of incremental hash marks along the line as if it were a scale from 0 to 100.
Every little thing that improves your reputation in a society, whether you consciously notice them or not, are positive attributes and move you further up the line towards 100. Everything that takes away from your reputation, no matter how small, are negative attributes that move you towards 0. Now take all the little things about a person or a company, and I mean all of them, add all the positives and subtract the negatives and you get a relative score on how strong or weak your Brand or reputation is.
Many of these things are so small, like polished shoes or misspelled words, that on their own people say they are not significant, but when added up they shift our thoughts and behaviors.
A Brand is incremental and when you understand what to look for and how to influence it you reap the rewards of having a strong brand or reputation. In the next blog I will talk more about the little things and how to know if something is worth your time.
Thanks for reading and let me know if this was helpful.Michael K. Redman