Branding is an extremely complex subject that just begins with a good logo. In our transparent social media world, branding is everything your company represents to a potential consumer and the world at large, online and offline. It’s your business’s personality, and it helps people choose to do business with you or not.
But what happens when there is a disconnect between your corporate brand and your personal brand?
*anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like. (Dictionary.com)
And do you think that’s going to help people choose to do business with you? I’m glad you’re shaking your head.
Most large companies invest a great deal in their branding. They spend big dollars to have a logo developed, their marketing collateral (website, catalogues, brochures, business cards etc.) is all professionally designed to reflect their brand values, and they may even have a style guide dictating what fonts to use when. And that’s just to get consumers to start talking to them. Once they have some customers, these companies pay close attention to how their front line people talk to their customers. It’s imperative that every experience the consumer has with the brand is in line with what she expects to maintain that hard won trust.
When you’re a small company or even a solopreneur, your personal brand IS your corporate brand. And if there’s a disconnect between the two, your potential consumer will be confused and need extra encouragement (read: $$) to even think about signing on the dotted line.
You wouldn’t trust a landscape designer who had weeds in his garden would you? How about a hairdresser with damaged hair? A brand needs to take its promises to its consumers seriously.
Your brand is an extension of you both personally and professionally. If you’re in a professional business you need to look professional. If you’re in a creative business, it will help you sell your wares if you embrace color and wear funky accessories. And don’t forget about your online brand. If you’re selling financial services to businesses, a Hawaiian shirt in your profile picture is not going to do you any favors.
To minimize cognitive dissonance it’s imperative that every way you communicate about your business is consistent. Including your personal style and body language.
There’s both psychology and communication theory at work here. The exact percentage breakdown between verbal and nonverbal is in dispute, but we can probably all agree that nonverbal matters a great deal. Add to that the psychology of your behavior depending on how you dress and you have a veritable cocktail of ingredients that add to the ‘should I buy or should I keep looking’ soup.
So, is what you’re wearing sending the same brand message as your company website?
If you need help with either, please get in touch.