“Filling the Brand Gap” is an article to get you thinking about your brand and how you can start building a real brand for yourself. By The Strategy Addict, Shane Snively. This is Part 1 of the brand series. Part 2: “The Penalty Box“. And a drawing to make you think: “The Content Bridge“.
What is your brand?
Are you the brand? Is your company name the brand? Is the parent company the brand? Are the products you produce and sell your brand?
How you define yourself as an insurance agent, a financial advisor, a financial planner—is that your brand? Is it something personal, the degrees you have, the college you attended, the designations you earned? What about the car you drive, the size of your house, the club you belong to?
Technically speaking, all of these things matter and are to some degree important, but they are not the totality of your brand.
What Is “Brand”?
A brand is all about perceptions; people’s perceptions about you, your product, and your company. It is their emotional response to the public choices you have made.
Do you drink Coke or Pepsi products? How passionate are you that your choice is the right one? Have you ever said I hate Pepsi or I hate Coke? What makes you so emotional—so convinced?
As your mind starts forming perceptions about something, you start developing a feeling. That feeling can be bad, good, indifferent, whatever. These feelings become hunches, intuitions. Your instincts kick in, and you ultimately start formulating an opinion. Your potential clients, customers, partners, anyone you might do business with, are all the same way. This feeling, the gut reaction, the ultimate expression they feel about you, your company, your products, all of that is your brand.
Do you want brand loyalty?
Brand strength is correlated to public trust, their confidence that they will get what they expect from you. Conversely, brands that fail, fail because the messages do not match. Either they say different things that contradict each other (trigger very different feelings), or they say one thing and do something else. Words like disingenuous, disappointed, frustrated, or confused come to mind when you think about brand let-downs.
If you can cultivate consistent expectations, consistent emotional responses, then other people will know what to expect. They’ll come to you, trusting that you’ll have what they’re looking for. That’s brand marketing.
A brand is an asset all to itself. Growing it requires intentionality.
And how do you begin to fill your brand gap?
Content to Fill the Brand Gap
Through content—blogs, podcasts, videos, social media posts, and more. But will just any content do? No.
Content without a soul is just noise. Content without an audience does very little for branding. Libraries of reusable content for mass distribution are cheap and easy, but are they effective?
I am pretty sure we have all been told that you get out of things what you put into them, so why should marketing be any different?
You have a story. I bet you have a point of view, something interesting to say. So why not say it? Scared of the time commitment? Scared of doing something different and new? Scared you will be laughed at? We get it. It’s not easy. It is scary. It should be scary.
Scary means it’s real, and real is what makes the connection between you and potential clients or customers.
Real is how you fill your brand gap.