Do we all yearn to leave behind a legacy, to leave an interminable footprint? All I know is my name is not on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one day I’ll have a star–a footprint that will be unforgettable. “Whether you’re a celebrity, entrepreneur, or a founder of a non-profit, you represent something. As an employee, you represent the brand that is employing you—each one of us is a brand.” (CMS Wire) Standout in the crowd by doing something unique that leaves a lasting impression. What steps will you take to leave a legacy?
Today’s consumer is living in a fast paced shifting world-it’s time for new rules to building an unforgettable brand. It’s time to think differently, traditional thinking just doesn’t fly as it once did-throw all the tools out the window for now. Let’s go back to the beginning of brand building, where nothing but word of mouth was employed. Build a brand that consumers want to live, breath, and connect with—they will do all the marketing for you. If you have a brand that aligns to consumers’ values and are meaningful to them, they will flock to you. The marketing tools are just a “push tactic” that helps push a brand. If you’re brand isn’t admired, valued, and innovative, don’t bother with a push tactic—results will be unsuccessful.
For example, lets talk about Starbucks, a well-established brand built on the ability to think differently. Well how did Starbucks become an established brand? “Starbucks strives to bring both their heritage and an exceptional experience to life. They wanted a place for conversation and a sense of community. The reason they’re here is to help create connections, discovery, inspiration and creation.” (Starbucks) The company’s stores are designed to help customers interact. The company’s innovative approach has enabled it to be one of the most trusted brands in the world; they carved out this dynamic niche with their brand and became very successful, they have no direct competition. They’re one of the few brands that have found a competitive advantage and ran with it–thinking differently. (Entrepreneur) Stated in the article you will find a piece of advice: “It you’re going to enter a category and be a ‘me too,’ don’t bother.”
I don’t know about you, but for me personally, just holding a Starbucks coffee cup makes me feel sophisticated. I’m proud to say I’m a Starbucks brand advocate. They’ve managed to appeal to my subconscious, my heart, and my wallet.
Take Pinterest, which began as a simple way to collect images via the web. Pinterest has exploded into a phenomenon of self-expression and inspiration from others. Pinterest inspires people, whether it’s to start gardening or to jump on the DIY bandwagon. Pinterest appeals to consumers because it’s personal; it’s about the things you like. This creates an emotional tie between the consumer and the brand. Co-Creative Director Andy Spade stated: “What we like is who we are, so sharing what we like online is like saying ‘Here’s who I am’.” They learned the best way to build a product, service or business is to actually talk to the people using it. (Entrepreneur)
Worldwide brands can be created just by building relationships with your customers, give them the total brand experience that they’re looking for. Find a way into their hearts, minds, and wallets—Entrepreneur. But first take a long look at yourself and get a clear picture of your purpose and place. Find more people like you, and create a community that appeals to them.
For-profit branding is not any different for non-profits; it’s all about building relationships that will last long-term. Instead of building relationships with consumers you are building them with donors and supporters. You’re selling an idea, vision, and mission; make it consistent and unforgettable.
Don’t be defined by another organization, think outside the box and capture the attention of the millions of hearts still out there. Leave behind your legacy.