Shakespeare once famously asked, “What’s in a name?”
He could have also easily asked, “What’s in a brand?” but alas, he couldn’t be amazing at everything.
The fact is, if you don’t hold your brand in high regard, no one else will either. Let’s talk about what a brand is. Is it a logo? Not really. Is it a name? No.
It’s what you, your colleagues and your company do every day. The logo and the name of the company symbolize the brand you’ve spent years creating.
Consider, for example, the name GoDaddy. Before entrepreneur Bob Parsons decided on the name for his domain name company, “daddy-o” was a 1940s/1950s slang term. Now GoDaddy is synonymous with all things internet domain-related. For years, people couldn’t wait to see what his company would do with their wacky Super Bowl commercials.
(On that note, say, “Budweiser” and “Super Bowl” in the same sentence. What did it make you think of? If you said Clydesdales, we’re speaking the same language.)
What’s an apple? It’s not just a fruit. It’s a global company engaged in designing consumer electronics and apps.
We take for granted what these brands now represent to all of us.
Apple didn’t immediately become recognizable in the early 1980s as a producer of computers. And GoDaddy didn’t pop into our collective consciousness overnight. It has taken years and years of hard work, repetition and various and exhaustive brand-building exercises to become what those names are to all of us today.
How about another? Ikea. You know what it means. (No, I don’t mean — necessarily — hours of poring over assembly instructions.) I mean low-cost, innovative home decor and furnishings that come in a box. (And also Swedish meatballs.)
While brands are built over years of hard work, they can easily be destroyed in mere days through poor decisions.
Even if you think you’re not in charge of your company’s brand, you in fact are, every day. How you conduct yourself in business every day reflects the overall company’s brand and by extension, the brand of the product or service you’re selling. Personally and professionally, you’ve also got your own brand.
Protect it. Cherish it. And grow it.