Sarcasm, Humor, Inappropriateness – Creating a Brand that People Love
Think about creating a brand people love like this …
Every brand/organization has “substance.” This is what they do, the products they create, the services they offer, and the expertise they have.
That’s what people come to them for, why they buy from them, and why they stick with them. The substance is the glue.
But to get people to understand the substance, you have a series of levers. “Levers” are different ways you get people interested in the glue. For example:
- Being inappropriate
- Being totally professional
- Using influencers
- Being highly visual
- Etc, etc.
Consider Tincup as an example
If you meet him at a barbershop in Arlington, TX, or a conference in Las Vegas, you will get the same person. His “brand” is real in that regard. Now, his brand might not work for everyone, and he has been turned down (and turned down himself) different client opportunities.
In fact, way back when he was co-running an ad agency, he used to drop 1-2 expletives into prospect calls. If the expletives were clearly rubbing the prospect the wrong way, it was very possible that the relationship wouldn’t work. In this case, “brand” is a form of “self-selection.”
Two dudes that have worked with RD over the years, Matt Charney and Ted Bauer, have more “abrasive” online profiles — curse, make fun of HCM issues, etc. They both still get work and opportunities, although some brands in the space look at them (and Tincup!) and think “Ugh.”
People and brands use levers in different ways to get to substance. All those people, and thousands of others in the HCM space have great substance.
But with so much great substance floating around, the levers become important. How do you stand out? How do people notice you and get to the glue of what you’re saying? That’s the important part.
Above all, don’t play it safe
Brands often get very worried about compliance and liability, which is a natural concern. You should not be completely off the rails or unhinged, no. That will alienate a lot of paid work and client base.
But playing it safe and just constantly tweeting webinar links isn’t going to work either — there’s way too much noise digitally right now for people to find you with boring, run-of-the-mill stuff. Your levers need to stand out.
If you have the greatest content and subject matter expertise in the world (substance) but no one can find you (levers), it’s a tree falling in the forest problem.
Is your brand making a sound? To drive revenue, your brand needs to make a sound — and that might mean you need to step off the brake pedal for a few initiatives.