Yesterday a Democratic operative attacked Ann Romney, saying she “had never worked a day in her life”. To say the least, this is a self-defeating communication tactic. It’s worthwhile to remember the difference between a debate and a battle – two words which stem from the same root. In a battle, there are only two sides and you’re trying to defeat the opponent. In a debate, there are three sides and you’re trying to win over the audience. If your audience respects your opponent — as I think we all respect Ann Romney — then attacking the opponent reduces your credibility and alienates the audience. When you debate an opponent that the audience admires, you first need to show how much you respect the opponent and then clearly, and unemotionally, describe your differences. By showing respect, you build your credibility. Then, and only then, can you describe your advantages. Our politicians seem to have forgotten this. Here’s a video to refresh their memories.
What’s a brand? In essence, it’s a promise that’s been consistently fulfilled. The promise has been kept in the past and we’ve come to trust that it will be fulfilled in the future. Coca Cola, for instance, has always tasted the same — no matter where or when the product is purchased. We’re confident that the same taste will be delivered in the future. In other words, we trust Coca Cola will keep its promise and we feel safe in buying the product. The brand has reduced risk and uncertainty in our lives.
What’s the essence of brand building? Consistently fulfilling the same promise. If the company behind the brand has many employees who deliver customer services, then they all must understand the brand promise and fulfill it in their daily activities. If they do, trust will be enhanced and the brand will grow. If they don’t, the lack of consistency undermines trust and customers lose confidence in the business. Customers will start to wonder whether they can trust that the brand will fulfill its promises in the future.
Learn more in the video.
Every time I see Warren Buffet on TV, his hair looks like it hasn’t seen a comb in years. Surely he can afford a comb. So, why is his hair so messy? I’m guessing that it’s a subtle — but persuasive — effort to brand himself as a smart guy. Who do we think of when we think of smart guys? Albert Einstein. What did his hair look like? It was a mess. I think we’re supposed to conclude that Albert and Warren are so busy thinking deep thoughts that they don’t have time to think about their appearance. It’s a good branding strategy. So what’s your personal branding strategy? Find out more in the video.