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When discord happens, people question brands

Have you been following the detritus in the wake of Dan Lyons’ book, Disrupted: My Misandventure in the Start-Up Bubble? Lyons, an established journalist and author, worked at Hubspot, a digital marketing software company headquartered in Boston, for a couple years; and then he wrote a book about it. Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot’s founder, responded to content in the book yesterday on LinkedIn.

I’m not taking sides here. What I’m interested in is how a dynamic brand can stumble. Hubspot just got a dose of self-awareness in front of a world-wide audience. Nope, they aren’t as transparent as they positioned. Nope, they aren’t one big happy family. There are problems in paradise.

Hubspot has consistently and confidently showcased its expertise, exuberance and team spirit up to this point. I’ve used the product and read plenty of their content: I like what they do and how they do it. Be that as it may, not everyone does or will. Mr. Shah writes that they are aware of their issues and are working on them. Well, they’re certainly aware now — and in front of a large audience.

How the company represents itself and how it’s currently being showcased do not mesh. That’s brand discord. When discord happens, people question brands. Disrupted is one person’s perspective; however, now that it’s out there, it can’t be ignored. Seeds of doubt have been sown in even the biggest fans’ minds.

The simple formula for brand success: Authenticity + Awareness = Strong Brand. Hubspot has the opportunity now to morph their PR version of authenticity into self-aware authenticity. The result will be a stronger brand.

Ten tips to create a superstar brand

I’m looking out onto my snow-dusted lawn. It’s the day after the spring equinox and I’d just like to say: Spring! You are not meeting your brand promise. Snow? Really? This is not working for me.

Individuals and companies (and seasons – really, all things) have brands. A brand is simply what people say about us. And sometimes what they say, and how they react to us, doesn’t mesh with what we thought we were projecting. Ugh, I know. What to do?

I created this list a couple years ago for an interview. I was addressing personal branding — the process that a professional can embark on to build a more self-aware and honest projection of self. Each of these 10 tips can also be used by small businesses to match appearance in digital and traditional marketing, etc. to performance.

Over the course of several weeks, I will blog about several of these steps, and I will translate each tip from the personal process to small business focus. Read through and let me know if there’s a certain area you’d really like for me to zone in on.

Ooooh, the snow is melting! Spring – I take back all the bad things I said about you.

Top 10 Tips to Build Your Brand

  1. Be Aware! Everyone has a personal brand: It’s what people say when you walk out of the room. Whether you care or not is up to you.
  2. Understand your greatest strengths.
  3. Understand your personality type.
  4. Name your top 3 attributes  – these are your brand’s foundation and filter.
  5. Make sure your exterior reflects your internal strengths.
  6. Understand your communication style and develop voice, tone, pitch; vocabulary; body language; presentation skills.
  7. Make sure your social media/digital marketing reflects your personal brand. Choose 2 – 5 social media sites to focus on – you don’t need to do everything.
  8. Keep it real: If you’re trying to project strengths that truly aren’t yours, people will see through the veneer.
  9. Invest in building relationships through personal interactions and networking. Follow up and offer to help others.
  10. Work with a mentor.

Instagram change: Curated instead of Chrono

Why? Why do the social media giants keep messing with our dashboards? The change from posts appearing in reverse chronological order to curated order happened first with Facebook, then Twitter, now Instagram (owned by Facebook).

As a branding professional, I spend more than my fair share of time on social media sites. And I completely understand corporate reasons for curating user feeds: 1) To zone in on consumer interests to make sites more marketable for corporations; 2) To make the experience better for the users. My gut tells me that reason one greatly outweighs reason two (tell me if you think I’m wrong).

Hey, I’m a big girl. Social media sites are, in theory, money-making corporations who have their own missions and pressures. I understand why they are making this change to curated over reverse chronological. I just prefer to have the power to see what I want to see and curate my dashboard feed myself.

Consider a brand filter

A professional brand isn’t just how we dress our bodies, how we communicate, and how we treat others at work: it’s also how we put ourselves out there in the world and on the interwebs. We all have Facebook pages and Instagram accounts filled with close and not-so-close friends where we let it fly (which can still be dangerous but I’m not going to be all “your grandmother” here). But when we’re posting, tweeting, and blogging to represent our professional selves, to inspire customers, clients and brand fans, we need to be authentic AND judicious.

Here’s something that works: A “filter” so that you can easily assess what you can post, retweet, and like to best represent you. Here are three suggestions for a solid social media filter:

1. Define your brand in three to five words. If the content doesn’t hit on the feel of those attributes, be like a Disney princess and let it go.

2. Know your audience. The marketing tool of creating avatars for your ideal clients/customers works here. Who are your target Facebook fans and Pinterest pinners? Use their likes, needs, and interests as part of you filter web.

3. Always be of service. Whenever you’re tweeting or posting, ask yourself, “How will this benefit my audience?” This doesn’t mean you can’t post sometimes random and quirky content (especially if random and quirky are part of your brand). It just means that the quirk should be of interest to your followers.

Source:: Professionality Consulting