This may sound like an odd title, but HOW you do business really is just as important to your brand as WHAT you do, or your logo, communications, etc. Take a lesson from a business owner who I am sadly watching destroy their brand through pushy, in-your-face promotional tactics.
This person is an expert in their field. They have years of experience and have gotten real results for people. But somewhere along the line, this person got some bad advice from a coach, or colleague or guru and has started to destroy their hard-earned brand image. Someone must have told this person that in order to make more money they needed to sell, sell, sell. Which, of course, one does need to do in order to make money and we talked about being an effective salesperson in a previous post. But you can’t be a robot about it if you want a brand that still needs to stand for excellence, expertise, and influence. You need to practice good judgment and tact as well.
This person is now in 100% sales mode at every waking moment – to the point that they are selling at inappropriate times and speaking engagements. And when I say inappropriate, I really mean it: we’re not talking about the good sense to promote yourself when you are networking or speaking. We’re talking highly inappropriate as in, you have not respected your audience enough to know when to pull back. The well-respected brand is now eroding into an infomercial. Which is okay, if that is the business you are after, but given this person’s value and years of experience, I’m not sure that is what they want their brand positioning to be.
This truly makes me sad as I watch this happen and I hear the rumors and see people distancing themselves from this brand. Remember, how you behave and how you do business is probably more important to your brand promise than any graphic or website ever could be. Brand is visual, verbal AND experiential. And this person could be hurting themselves in the long haul. Sure, maybe they are making tons of money and then, what the heck do I know? There is certainly a market and a place for such a brand and maybe that is indeed what this person wants to go after. But personally, I’m not sure I’d want to forsake my reputation for some short-term gains in a way that might cause me to miss the boat on being the kind of business I really want to be.