Branding; it’s one of the big buzz words in the biz world but just what is it? The best explanation I’ve heard so far, “it’s what people say about you when you’re not there”. Advertising is built around this way of thinking, employing big name stars that suggest that if we model what they do, we will be like them; at least this is the marketing that’s being employed when men lust after Michael Jordan’s underwear.
Politicians hire spin doctors to improve their brand, big corporations hire mega marketing companies and us smaller folk, (if the budget allows) will employ brand coaches or read the latest books and/or invest in workshops and classes to gain an edge. We may even go as far to seek the advice of friends and family. But how do we know if what we are receiving is a consultation to be considered or just another song and dance that’s off key…how do we know if we really want to be like Mike?
I was recently at a networking event when I was approached with an opinion about my looks by two members of the Hair Police. Who are the Hair Police? They are women who have taken upon themselves to enforce the unwritten rules of hair etiquette to save you from yourself.
Now, if you have not met me yet, let me give you a brief description about my hair; it is a little unconventional (hair past your shoulders when you are 50 and older seems to be out of the norm), it’s a little unruly (curls and waves that have their own mind) and just like me it gets a little fuzzy when it rains. In other words, my hair is a direct reflection of my personality; my hair is part of my brand. It is how my children find me in a crowded room and how my clients describe me to soon-to-be-customers, “you know when you meet her…it’s the hair”.
The Hair Police had decided that it would be in my best interest if I would cut my hair, straighten it, and were even going to go as far as to tell me that they would take me to their stylist to take care of what was obviously wrong with me (that evidently I was too blinded by my unruly locks to see). So, how to decide if Mike and the Hair Police are singing a tune that you can follow…
1. My, my, my, my blue suede shoes…or, if the shoe doesn’t fit don’t wear it. The people who are doing the proposing; do they have what you want? Michael Jordan’s jingle is that certain parts won’t jangle in his underwear. For some of you that is really important and may warrant further consideration.
Maybe they’re just pointing out the fact that you need to update your tune and throw out that 8-track (for those of you too young and asking what an 8-track is, I don’t want to hear it). In my case I decided that neither one of the Hair Police were singing a tune that I wanted to carry but, could it be remixed? So, on to step 2….
2. It has a great beat but can you dance to it? Before you discard anything, pause for a moment and think, “They like to square dance and my step is the Salsa. Is there a way that I could combine the two and make something new?”
Sometimes we are so used to the same ol’ dance patterns, that when something new is offered, we automatically reject it and then later complain that our creativity has been stagnated. Give yourself at least 24 hours to ponder before you decide that they are either playing your song or stepping on your toes.
I had a business coach that advised me not to tell people what I do (I’m a Business Hypnotist) until they came in for their free consultation. Instead I was only to inform them of what they could achieve (success instead of failure) in the initial meet and greet. To me that was too much of a jive step. I decided that I was better off with a composition of “What can you Achieve because of what I do.” As far as the Hair Police were concerned, I decided that my locks did need a bit of taming. Then it’s on to step 3…
3. They may be a one hit wonder but how can you go Gold? You strike up the band and conduct what you believe is a new refrain; Think Big, Do Big, Be Big. You think people are going to notice you and want to sign you immediately and you’ll be an overnight success. But what is it really: the same old song and dance that’s been played down through the years. What’s the difference between a one hit wonder and going Gold? Thinking big yes, but doing small. It’s those small actions repeated over and over that will bring you the recognition you desire.
“I would advise you to keep your overhead down; avoid a major drug habit; play everyday, and take it in front of other people. They need to hear it, and you need them to hear it.” James Taylor. Did you get the part of playing everyday? That’s what will take you to the Gold.
How did I fine tune the pitch from the Hair Police? I still dance to my own song of being unconventional, unruly and a little frizzy but I decided that there was some truth under what they were telling me, so I get my locks tweaked every 4-5 weeks instead of 5-6. What about you…what’s your brand’s jingle…is it really about you or just another remix of someone else? Do you really want to be like Mike and the Hair Police?
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