Everything ElseWritten by Emre Tuncbilek On 12 September 2011
You own your brand, but who does it really belong to? Not You!

In the ancient times epic battles were fought to gain physical territory and wealth, today those battles evolved into a fierce perpetual competition for a prominent place in other people’s minds whether they are your customers, voters, fans or supporters.

Since the beginning of time, mankind has always used symbols to express uniqueness, existence, individuality, pride, fear, success, failure, loyalty, and ownership. The earliest symbols can still be found on surviving cave drawings across the world. They were so simple yet universally powerful that they survived the roughness of history in one form or another. With each era, the number of symbols multiplied exponentially and became more sophisticated with profound meanings. Today, we see the majority of these symbols in the form of brands.

Modern times are over saturated with brand names, and logos and taglines everywhere. Today, everything we use is branded and tells something about us, the car we drive, the newspaper we read, the shoes we wear, even the coffee we drink.

You are invisible without a brand, almost impossible to notice unless you have a clear, unique and, above all, a charismatic brand. It is harder than ever for businesses, especially small businesses, to stand out from the crowd.

Being unique is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. Your brand, personal or business, should not just represent who you are and your uniqueness, but also should tell a story. The best brands are those that have a life beyond the product or service they are attached to. They symbolize an attitude that inspires action or a new way of thinking.

Today at the age of infinite choices, charisma comes from being irreplaceable. A charismatic brand or CEO or organization is the one that people believe there is no alternative.

The question is “How can you create a successful charismatic brand?”

The question becomes a solution when we substitute the word “you” with “they”! “They” refers to the audience of your brand. Let them define your brand, your story and your products rather than trying to tell them what they need, what your product does or what your story is. This way you will be irreplaceable by being the only one that gets them, understands them and a part of them.

As one of my favorite authors puts it, “A brand is not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.” A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization. It’s a person’s gut feeling, because brands are defined by individuals, not companies, markets or the public. It’s a gut feeling because people are emotional, intuitive beings.

Let the meaning of your brand evolve around the community rather than broadcasting. Your products or services are created, rather than being produced. Even the word audience sounds like an old marketing relic that represents one way communication. It should be replaced with the word community to reflect a dialogue rather than a monologue.

There is nothing that can stop you from standing out from the crowd once you decide that you own your brand, but it belongs to them.

Photos: GenericavatarYann, Nickwheeleroz

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About Author

Emre has a diverse work experience including IT consulting, sales force coordination, analytical/predictive reporting and operations management. He has an IT background, BA degree in Business Administration and earned his MBA degree in 2011. Currently, he takes part in various consulting projects and assists graduate level marketing and consulting courses at HPU. He is looking for opportunities for developing cloud based CRM systems, CRM analytics and social media integrations. (www.etunch.com)

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