Everyone Looks Good in a Wetsuit: Wearing your brand like a second skin
Some conversations just have staying power. Several years ago, we were sharing wine and swapping stories with friends. One raconteur, in a somewhat non sequitur aside, added “… and of course, everyone looks good in a wetsuit…” The room fell still. I’m not sure whether that was due to people trying to visualize themselves and others in said garment or to puzzlement about how the heck it related to the story. Nonetheless, it stuck in my mind.
And, speaking of non sequitur, that got me thinking about how people treat their brand. Some see their brand as an added decoration, like a necktie: something you hate to deal with, but just tolerate to make an impression.
Others take it in stride, follow the rules, much like following doctor’s orders: do what you are directed to do to stay healthy.
But then, there are the enthusiasts: The evangelists who live and breathe the brand. The ones who drink the Kool-aid, not just because they think they should, but because they love it. You can see it in Silicone Valley start-ups. You can see it in the Apple culture. You can see it with online communities as well as in physical ones. Belonging is a badge of honor. It’s an invaluable commodity.
Building that kind of following for your company, your cause, or your community requires:
- Clarity—understanding the value your brand brings to its constituents
- Commitment—making decisions based on the impact to brand value
- Consistency—treating the brand experience at every touch point so that it is consistent with your brand value
- Caring—From the CEO to the janitors, showing respect for everyone who plays a role in building greatness. Understanding that no contribution is too insignificant
- Culture—Treat your customers or constituents as you would like to be treated. Build ambassadors for your brand by creating a strong user experience. People may not remember a name, but they will remember how they are treated. .