how to build a strong brand image
(a real-life example of what not to do)
Before I explain how to build a strong brand image for your business (and it will blow you away how simple it is!), let’s unpack this news story headline because it’s a truly excellent example of what not to do:
First of all, Chief Impact Officer is a very real job position at a lot of companies. From my understanding, it typically involves measuring the actual progress that a company is making toward achieving its mission (turns out mission statements aren’t just word salad – surprise!). So it’s unclear how Lil Nas X is qualified for that position… it’s either a cute honorary title for a marketing campaign or someone out there is working overtime to delete pertinent résumé information from his Wikipedia page.
But I digress. This post isn’t about Lil Nas X, despite his exceedingly rewatchable music videos.
It’s not about how the role of a Chief Impact Officer could help you build your brand image, either.
It isn’t even about Taco Bell (although ask me again at 11 pm. after I’ve been drinking all day).
It’s about the quote in the last paragraph:
“The singer represents ‘an authentic manifestation of this openness, this irreverence, this rebellion’ that brands want to capture, one marketing expert said.”
In other words:
“We either aren’t willing or don’t know how to use openness, irreverence, and rebellion in our own brand image, so we’re just gonna use a spokesperson to do it for us.” -Brands
This is reason #1899 why the branding industry makes me want to gouge my eyes out with tiny collector’s edition spoons. Building a strong brand image isn’t that complicated.
Corporations attempt to create fancy brands that are absolutely definitive, and in the process they end up putting themselves in a stiff little box. Instead of being flexible enough to simply BE open and irreverent and rebellious, they have to partner with someone who symbolizes their brand ideals to get their desired image across.
I’m not claiming spokespeople and influencers are automatically bad – partnerships can be a strong component of a marketing strategy! But when you depend on an external factor to communicate your brand message, it’s a billboard-sized warning sign you need to refocus your brand strategy.
As a visionary entrepreneur, your business doesn’t exist to just make money and then fade away. Your business is here as a tool to help you change. the. world. But in order to harness that power, you have to know how to build a strong brand image.
How to build a strong brand image:
1. Poke fun at the stuff that pisses you off, and offer your original solutions to the problems you see.
2. Share your real, true, actual ideas instead of resharing a meme.
3. Take a stand for what you believe in, and be willing to offend people in the process.
4. Represent your values instead of just partnering with someone who does.
5. Build your business model around your purpose instead of just profit margins.
6. Be open and irreverent and rebellious all by yourself.
7. Build a strong brand image by being your own brand spokesperson, because nothing is more authentic than that.