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President

Perception IS Reality

By Ryan Sauers

About Ryan

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at ryansauers.com.
 

What’s Your Brand of Communications?

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We communicate a message in everything we do. The word brand is one that is used frequently in our conversations. We discuss brands we like and those that we do not. Why?  All brands stand out in our mind for some reason (good or bad). Successful people and organizations are cognizant of this and work hard to develop their brand—through effective communications. This process includes building a recognizable brand name in the eye of the beholder. So, what does this mean to you? 

Think about our instant recognition of Nike’s “Just Do It “or Apple’s “there’s an APP for that” campaign. These messages are effective in connecting a customer with a brand. The goal is to make such a brand experience personal in nature. For example—are you a McDonalds or Burger King person? Coke or Pepsi person? A Georgia Bulldogs fan or a Florida Gators fan? People like to connect.

Successful communications of your brand is the now and the future of marketing. What does this mean? It is not about us. It is not about what we offer. It never was. However, it is all about them. It always has been and always will be. The same is true in the “social space” where content is king...and we are all pressed for time but will “virtually connect” with those who bring us value and make our live easier.

This means that the way in which a printing, MSP, graphics company communicates its message is of utmost importance. Always remember that building a strong, recognizable, and consistent brand takes time, effort and commitment. Simply said, it requires a deliberate and purposeful strategy. Sidenote: there are NO shortcuts. This hard work pays off by creating brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is one of the most valuable assets any organization can have. Quite frankly, it is the “why” that answers the reason customers will pay more for our goods and services. Think of “why” as being the part of an iceberg that is under water (not visible).

Your brand can be referred to as the sum total of key ideas, emotions, and perceptions that are communicated to your audience and associated with your organization's work. A brand is “shorthand” for the identifying characteristics recalled when your stakeholders reflect upon their experiences with your organization. To help simplify this subject, I have developed an acronym for the word BRAND.

A BRAND can be considered the Barometer reading of one’s Reputation, Attributes, Name, and Distinctiveness. This means it is the “barometer” or measurement of your “reputation” which is all your organization stands for; your “attributes” which are the characteristics others use when describing you; your “name” which suggests something (good, bad or indifferent when a person hears it); and your “distinctiveness” which means why you? What makes you different/unique?

So the question is not if we have a brand or not, because we do. All organizations have a brand. Instead the question is: What do we do with our brand? In short, our brand is not defined by what we say it is but is characterized by what others say it is.

A couple of more takeaways...please don’t become overwhelmed with social and emerging media. Always remember it is all about the psychology (relationships) not the technology (computers)...and these tools are simply new ways to communicate. Thus, they are a tool not the tool in our communications mix. Also, remember that your brand is that “extra value” you provide and the reason a customer stays with you over similar competition/offerings in the market. 

So, reflect on your brand. What do you think? From here, you can truly know what your brand is and decide how you want to intentionally grow, change, re-frame, and/or strengthen it. So, how do you define your brand? Do you like it? Why or why not?

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