Worst Mistake in Branding

Have you ever heard, “Don’t talk about yourself; it’s not polite.”? Well in marketing, we often believe that it’s our JOB to talk about ourselves, because if we don’t, who will? Conventional wisdom used to tell us to take every opportunity available to get our Brand and our list of products out there in front of everybody. Tell ‘em what you’ve got. Tell ‘em what you’ve done. Tell ‘em why you’re great. But that’s a one-dimensional approach, and it’s getting weaker by the day.Worst Mistake in Branding

Branding 101 – Balance your Content

Is there a place for explaining the unique benefits of your brand? Of course there is! It’s probably the most important feature of branding: being able to show why your product or service is EXACTLY what people need to solve their current challenge. But here’s the problem you can run into if you’re living in that “one dimension” of blowing your own horn all the time: you’ll only be playing to a very narrow band of listeners. You’ll only be talking to those that have already decided they need your product. You’ll have very little to offer those that AREN’T SURE THAT THEY NEED YOU YET. And that’s where the growth is going to come from: making friends, establishing yourself as a good source of information or an entertaining place to spend 10 minutes for people that are just poking around the edges of your industry, and just not quite ready to commit yet. This is a basic enough principle to qualify for a “Branding 101″ type of post.

But who’s gonna talk about my brand?!

So let me answer that rhetorical question: “If we don’t talk about ourselves, who will?” The answer: your followers! Show them that you have great stuff to read or view. Show them that you’ve got relevant information, easy to consume and entertaining. Show them that you know how to talk about valuable stuff WITHOUT cramming your brand down their throats. Show them that you can add value to their life, with no strings attached. What am I talking about? I’m talking about content marketing: using content to demonstrate authority, trust and usefulness. Let them be pleased with what they see, and THEN ask themselves, “Hmmmm…. Who are these guys? They seem to know what they’re talking about, and I LOVE their personality.” Don’t worry, they’ll know how to navigate to your About Us page to read your story and to find out about all the cool stuff you have to offer. It will be natural because THEY will know that THEY were in control of reading what THEY wanted to read, and were genuinely interested in finding out more. And you know what they’ll do next? Yep; you guessed it: they’ll talk about you to their friends.

Your best content won’t be about YOU

The brands that truly understand content are the ones that recognize the best content is not about them, but about something valuable to the people who see or read it.

That’s a quote from Carrie Kerpen, the CEO of Likeable Media. Perhaps you’d consider me a small-time Content Marketing Strategist, but Carrie is big-time! So if you can’t take MY word for it, take Carrie’s word for it. Don’t keep pushing your brand and your list of cool products. It’s not polite to talk so much about yourself! Balance that with lots of intriguing, entertaining, relevant-to-your-followers type of content. Let them get to know your personality, your authority, your reliability, your humor…. THEN let them decide it’s worth a look at your Products and Services page!

Ron VanPeursem
Ron VanPeursem is the Content Marketing Strategist for Shift Digital Media, and co-owner of Vihanti Digital Services (India). Ron blogs about Cultural Intelligence, Business in Intercultural Contexts, Education Theory and Content Marketing.

"Words are Powerful Things"