Tag Archives: Branding

Use your Personal Brand to Build your Business and Boost your Career

Kathy Ennis Personal Branding Specialist SMALLER

Extract from a presentation delivered at the Sainsbury Management Fellows’ Networking by, Katy Ennis, mentor, trainer and public speaker

An effective, authentic personal brand will help you build a profitable business and boost your career success, but before looking at personal brand I want set the context by looking at the underlying principles of ‘brand’.
What is a brand?
The response that I often get from asking this question is a list of criteria such as logo, strapline, trademark, colour etc. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

At its heart a brand is a collection of thoughts and feelings that customers have about a particular product or service. For example, if you consider your response to two different types of car you may get something like:

Bentley – expensive, stylish, sleek, leather
Hyundai – nippy, cheap, functional

Creating a brand is a step-by-step process that starts with the organisational values and emotional response you want to create; well before images, colours and fonts appear. You can break it down broadly into three sections:

The Brand – at heart this is an emotional response; it is the thoughts and feelings that a customer (or potential customer) has about your products or services.

The Visual Identity – the visual aspects that form the identity of the brand, such as, colours, fonts, shapes, words, symbols. 

The Logo – the simplest form of the brand in that it identifies it via a mark or an icon using the colours, fonts, shapes etc that form the visual identity.

Why is branding important?
There are five main reasons why branding is important:

  1. Recognition: a brand helps customers recognise your product or service
  2. Differentiation: a brand differentiates your product or service from your competitors
  3. Loyalty: a brand helps to build loyalty
  4. Relevance: a brand makes what you have to offer relevant to particular target markets
  5. Focus: a brand enables you to focus your marketing message

Sensation Transference
Back in the 1930s Louis Cheskin, a scientific researcher, clinical psychologist, and marketing innovator embarked on a life-long obsession to understand how customers’ perceptions motivate their purchasing behaviour. Through his research he observed that people’s perceptions of products and services were directly related to the aesthetic details of their design. He named this relationship sensation transference.  He spent most of his life investigating how design elements could significantly impact perceptions of value, appeal and relevance.

Q: What colour is margarine?
A: The answer is often ‘yellow’. The real answer is that it is not. In its natural state margarine is a greyish-white. Cheskin convinced the manufacturers that they would sell more if it looked more like butter.

Do you think he was right?
In his 2005 book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell considered the work of Cheskin and a number of studies that followed on from his work and in summery Gladwell wrote:

“people give an assessment of something they might buy … without realising it they transfer sensations or impressions that they have about the packaging of the product to the product itself … most of us don’t make a distinction – on an unconscious level – between the package and the product. The product is the package and the product combined”

Blink: the power of thinking without thinking, Malcolm Gladwell, 2005.

Personal Branding
So, where does this leave us in terms of personal branding and its impact on our businesses or our careers?

Well, the first thing to realise is that the process of going through a personal branding exercise is exactly the same as the process for branding a business or a product; you take the three brand elements and apply them to the individual:

Brand – identifying the inner you; your values, your message

Visual Identity – creating the outer you; your ‘look’

Logo – managing the inner and the outer you to determine how you make your mark; build, manage and maintain your reputation

The five elements that make branding important – recognition, differentiation, loyalty, relevance and focus – are summarised in my definition of personal branding:

Personal branding unites your passions, strengths, skills, behaviours, attitudes and core values in a focussed message. It makes you instantly recognisable, differentiates your uniqueness, builds a loyal following and makes you relevant to your target audience.

A personal brand:

  • enables clients or employers to recognise your potential – “does what it says on the tin”
  • differentiates you from your competitors – what makes one engineer better than another?
  • helps build loyalty – client loyalty means they keep coming back (it is far easier to keep a client than it is to find a new one); employer loyalty can influence job security and promotional prospects
  • helps clients and employers understand you and buy into your core values – people buy from (and buy into) people they like
  • makes what you have to offer relevant to your target market
  • enables you to focus your personal marketing message

Developing a personal brand allows you to understand your core values and create an authentic key message. Your values and your message are then applied consistently across all aspects of your life, your business and your career to enable others to have that ‘emotional response’ and ‘know’ what they are getting when they buy from you or buy into you.

A mentor, trainer and public speaker, Kathy Ennis uses the concepts of engagement marketing and personal branding as a method of business and career development; she firmly believes that it is individual effectiveness that contributes most to the overall success of any organisation. She helps people grow their business; and enhance their networking and communication skills. www.kathyennis.co.uk

Marketing an Engineering Business

b9-1106 Bedfordshire Businesswoman awards held at Woburn Sculpture Gallery. Overall winner Andrea Rodney of Hone-All Precision Ltd

Andrea Rodney is a dynamic, self-taught, self-motivated businesswoman who helped Hone-All Precision in Bedfordshire to extraordinary success, part of which can be attributed to the transformation of the company’s marketing strategy. Andrea joined the company at the age of 21 and 18 years later is a director of the company. Here Andrea tells us why manufacturing businesses should not shy away from marketing themselves.

For many years, Engineering and Manufacturing has suffered from a poor image. It seems that the media insist on continuously showing images of the old guy in overalls standing at his bench with a file in his hand whose length of service was judged by the length of the fingers he had left.

But the question is: how do we help ourselves in this?
Few companies within our industry ever covet press coverage or publish press releases or case studies shouting about the technological or process advancements they’ve made, the efficiencies achieved or even something as simple as a new machine being delivered.

Even fewer have a strong corporate image with memorable company logos which create an overall brand resulting in facilities with a themed colour scheme, matching corporate work wear, uniform documentation combined with an effective website to ensure the brand is seen externally by a national or international audience.

Within smaller companies in our industry, many are owner-managed or are run by excellent engineers who have never been involved in sales and marketing activity – they know how to make the parts, but not how to play the game!

As companies, regardless of size or speciality, we need to show just what we do and how well we do it. We need to look as good as we are. And we need to let people know about it. We are always told to focus on the 4 Ps – people, place, process and product – but without the 5th P – profile – it’s irrelevant as nobody knows just how good we are.

And so as an industry, we need to look to the brands we remember and ask ourselves what made them memorable? Then we apply that to our own businesses, however small and with whatever budget we have available to us.

It costs nothing to come up with an eye catching logo, to ensure this brand continues across all levels and throughout all functions of the business; and to ensure that when the telephone is answered, it is always in the same, bright, professional, bubbly and courteous manner. It costs nothing to ensure the facilities are clean, tidy and create a great first impression. And to ask people what they thought during their visit and act upon their feedback.

For those potential customers that cannot come for a visit there may be a small investment required to ensure that you can create a website that follows the same principles as your people, place, product and processes.

Once this is in place, it costs nothing to ensure your website is listed on all the free listings pages available, of which there are hundreds. Each entry moves your site up the rankings of search engines such as Google.

Advertising within trade magazines Services & Capacity listings is usually exceedingly cost-effective – less than a few hundred pounds for the entire year. But having a consistent presence raises awareness of your company and reinforces the brand each time it is seen.

Also, once these entries are placed, the magazines are usually much happier to include press releases and case studies from you which are placed free of charge and yet again tell your story, reinforce your brand and raise confidence in the continuity of your company and the services you provide.

The press releases can then be forwarded to your customers on a regular basis keeping them informed of your successes, investments and developments. Again, this costs nothing but offers a massive boost to reinforcing your image and keeping you at the forefront of your customers’ minds.

The benefits of these simple steps are that your company – which may well be exceptionally professional – is also perceived to be so. Not just by those that know you, but more importantly, by those that don’t.

You can build a brand and a profile for the minimum of investment and simply by playing the game you can tell the world about your fantastic people, about your safe and efficient facility, about the quality of your product and the effectiveness of your processes – all through one simple profile.

The greater hope with this is if more of us get this right, the less companies there will be for the media to use in order to portray manufacturing as an antiquated, outdated industry with little technology or progression for the youth of today. We have more chance of showing CNC machinery, sharing stories of technological advancements, highlighting companies consistently investing in continuous improvement and reinforcing the fact that manufacturing is the best and safest way of balancing our economy and therefore deserves the recognition and support of everyone – the media, the Government, the country and those within it that don’t shout loudly enough about their contribution to the most exciting and innovative industry in the world.