Brand Promise Jargon

Maybe those three words, “brand, promise, jargon” don’t jangle your nerves, but they do mine. I think it’s because slick jargon is hiding some important stuff I want to talk about. Stuff like, expectations, conversations, identity, reality, work, friendship and why the heck am I, Ms Hermit, spending so much time on social media?

The first thing I want to say is, You are NOT your brand.

It’s kind of complicated.

Any time you venture online you are creating people’s perception of you — and how they perceive you is your brand.

But, did you read the word I used? You are creating people’s perception of you. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, whether you believe you’re being completely unfiltered or not, what and how you share information about yourself (and that information includes how you behave) creates a version of you online. That version of you is your brand. It’s what services like Klout purport to measure.

This version of you deserves to be called your brand when you look at it and see that it is the value proposition you’re putting to people. This brand tells people it is worth their time, their attention, heck, maybe even their money, because it offers them … Well, what are you offering them? This is where brand morphs into promise.

And this is the point where I think it’s important to remember that you are not your brand. You are so much more than your brand. But there is only so much of you that you want to give away — promise — to others. This is why being conscious of the version of you that you’re putting out there is vital. People will (mostly) respect your boundaries, but you need to define those boundaries.

On the flipside, people will build expectations around your brand. They will believe your promises. So you need to make promises you can keep.

Brand You … oh jargon, how I hate thee … Brand You is not a false identity. Well, I guess it could be, but this is my take on it. Brand You is genuine. It is you, but it’s also you knowing that you’re creating yourself. It is you self-aware and acting with purpose. It is you wanting something: friendships, conversations, to share knowledge, to sell your music, books or paintings, to take a journey (literal or figurative), to amuse and be amused.

The reason why people talk so much about brand is because it’s an effective tool in the “look at me! look at me!” world of social media. There is a lot of babble, a lot of confusion, a lot of competition in social media. If you want to make genuine connections with people it really helps to offer them a coherent you. People like stories. Brand You is your story.



9 Replies to “Brand Promise Jargon”

  1. "Fascinating though they are to watch, seeing someone meltdown online is terrifying … I keep reminding myself — no one wants to hear my political views or other negative stuff."

    It's not expressing your views on controversy that'll make you look like an *sshat. It's getting embroiled in prolonged sh*t storms. The Internet has a short attention span. If you don't feed the mob, pretty much anything you say will be quickly forgotten. I'm political. I'm obnoxious. I'm also largely unknown because I speak my peace and then move on. No battles on forums, no tantrums on other people's blogs, no flame wars on Twitter, etc.

    1. I can only salute your self control. I’m never sure if, having once said my bit, I could have the self-discipline to move on and not try for the last word. For me, it’s best not to open the door to the temptation to behave like a troll or worse, a snarky princess! 🙂

  2. Social media, really, is just another avenue for us to spread our image. What changes are the type and the sophistication of the channels that our image is made in, and in the channels’ ability to reach more people, and the same problems have occurred since time immemorial.

    For example, one of the ways that we become attuned to our leaders is through their image on coinage; the refusal of Australia, for example, to update the image of its queen on its coinage for so long reflected an idealised view of the monarchy that is still held by many in that country, just as the Roman emperors used their coinage to project idealised images of themselves.

    In a sense we are still using boats; it’s just that the boats become increasingly sophisticated.

  3. Let's not forget the poor authors who write in more than one genre and have to brand themselves for each one. Madness!

    I think you put it nicely. A brand is the story of you–or at least that slice of you.

    1. Branding across genres must be a nightmare. The whole notion of branding confused me for ages. Thinking of it as a story helps me feel more comfortable with it.

  4. Good points. I just always try to be “me” because that way I’ll have no trouble being consistent, providing my Readers a reliable experience, whether on the blog, in my books or if they meet me on twitter (where I seem to live these days!). But as you say, I am conscious that there need to be *some* boundaries between “me” out there in social media and the actual Me In Real Life!

    1. You are a twitter hero … it was like watching a duck discover water … naturally perfect!

      I've been thinking about brand for a long time … I think it does boil down to being yourself … just the you that doesn't get into train wrecks! Fascinating though they are to watch, seeing someone meltdown online is terrifying … I keep reminding myself — no one wants to hear my political views or other negative stuff.

    2. Thanks for that post Brent. A really usfeul prompt and reminder to keep providing new content. That can in itself be quite a challenge! I think using something like G+ helps you redirect other relevant information out there which both adds to the perception of helping others mentioned in the video and also takes a bit of the pressure off writing everyday.