GUEST: Bobby Gillespie, Founder & Principal at Propr Design
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Brands aren’t created out of thin air. They already exist.
It’s all about finding Michelangelo’s David in the stone, chipping away at what a client thinks a brand is to find out the true story without focusing on the gimmicky hacks.
Our latest guest, Bobby Gillespie, Founder & Principal at Propr Design, talked about how Propr helps their clients get the reputation they deserve, not necessarily the reputation they want, through strategic brand-building and storytelling.
What makes a brand?
Put simply: Your brand is your reputation.
It’s important to understand that your reputation is everything you do. Whether it’s a business or a personal brand, every conversation, every interaction action and every point of contact with the outside world shapes your brand.
Your brand already exists — whether it’s the brand you want is a different matter. Ultimately, you get the reputation (and, therefore, the brand) that you deserve.
Your brand is shaped by your actions, but any action you make should have a purpose guiding it. Otherwise, you’re just fumbling in the dark — which still earns you a reputation… but not the kind you’re looking for when trying to craft a brand.
Regardless of your expressed purpose, the perceived purpose behind your actions is vital to your brand. People increasingly determine whether they want to interact, do business or build a relationship with others based on a determination of their values.
When your actions have a purpose behind them, they communicate your values. As with any relationship, your brand will be best received by those who share your values and identify with your purpose.
Nothing will damage your reputation as much as being inauthentic. That’s because the average person can smell BS from a mile away.
Ulterior motives, cynical opportunism and hypocrisy are some of the most obvious ingredients for a bad relationship. If you aren’t authentic, it’s a recipe for a branding disaster.
Taking charge of your brand
Keep it simple
When it comes to branding, the simplest solution is the best solution. One of the biggest mistakes most people make when trying to take charge of their brand is over-complicating things.
Complexity doesn’t scale.
As we’ve already mentioned, if you’ve interacted with other humans at any point, you already have a brand. That means that you can’t build an entirely new brand from the ground up.
When you want to improve your brand, you should think about it more like pruning a tree than growing one from a seed. If you are authentic, have a strong purpose behind your actions, and treat others well, all you really need to do to improve your brand is help the world see the real you.
Find and express your true self
Authenticity comes from knowing yourself well enough — and having the courage — to just be you. Often, one of the reasons people overcomplicate branding is because they are trying to copy (and compete with) the success of others.
The thing is: If your goal is to truly be your authentic self, then no one can beat you. Who can be a better you than, well… you?
It’s a cliché, but when it comes to branding, just be yourself — everyone else is already taken. If you take the time to understand yourself, your motivations and your purpose, then your authenticity will shine through in everything you do — and like-minded people will naturally gravitate to your brand.
Communicate your passion
We’ve noted that people want to build relationships with others based on purpose and shared values — but that doesn’t mean you can just glom onto any purpose. Again, authenticity is key.
So, instead of saying your mission is whatever people seem the most upset about on social media the day you pick it, find something that truly matters to you. A true purpose inspires passion.
If people recognize the genuine passion behind your actions — and they will — then they will trust in your purpose and see you as authentic. This is also an especially important consideration as a leader in any organization because the inverse is also true: If you want your employees to care about the work they’re doing, they need to see your passion.
Your brand story
At this point, you should be well aware that you already have a brand — it’s your reputation. If you want to improve your brand, it comes down to how well you tell your story.
Above all else, your brand story is told by your authenticity. The things that make for a compelling story — purpose, values, passion — will all shine through if you just be your true, authentic self.
If your story is authentic, people can’t help but root for you. So, tell your story and take control of your brand.
Now that you know how to conduct killer marketing tests, are you ready to learn how to hone your business’s competitive edge or use data to prevent revenue leaks in your business? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.