I am Sam, Sam I am
August 29th, 2011
We all love Dr. Seuss and the Doctor had so many lessons for life and work that will likely live on forever. A graduation favorite, “Oh the Places You Will Go,” is applicable for many milestones in life, and I can never get enough of The Sneetches’ lessons for all. Dr. Seuss has such a wonderful way of forming characters and developing their personalities. It’s branded in the minds of the world forevermore.
What’s the persona of your business? Have you thought about it? How do you go out and speak to the world? Are you formal/informal? Are you fun or cutesy? Are you tough and rugged? Powerful or meek? Whatever the persona you choose for your business, it’s a critical step. It needs to match the products/services you offer. People buy/engage with people they like. Relationship matters most! The persona you take to market has a significant impact on clients/customers/donors you attract and the relationships you build, therefore on your success.
Digging in a bit deeper, is your persona reflected in your tagline, logo, colors? Is it consistent? Do you have a completely different identity on your website vs. at a tradeshow, in your blog/social media, sellsheets and other materials? Persona is not only style. Clearly a blog can be more conversational than perhaps a website or a sellsheet, but the persona should be the same. Not so sure of that? What about when you give a presentation or are talking in a small lunch meeting vs. when you are writing a proposal? Style different? Yes. Persona, no, or at least it shouldn’t be. Who I am does not change based on a verbal vs. a written statement, but one is typically more formal than the other. Ensuring there is consistency in the persona of your business is critical in solidifying your identity and building a powerful brand people will recognize.
Taking it one step further, when you spend time thinking about your business’ persona, it’s a must to think about your logo, tagline, messaging, how you present yourself…the full identity package. You become fluent in your brand and your business, a critical step! To do so effectively means identifying and exploiting your differentiators. When you are fluent in who you are (your business) and who you want to be when you grow up, your vision, your roadmap, becomes clear; it all works effectively together enabling you to build and leverage your brand quickly.
This fluency provides a solid foundation when you are asked unexpected questions or to consider new or different directions for your product or business. You may not have the answer, but you will have a solid understanding of that from which the answer must come. This fluency is very helpful in hiring new employees, ensuring they are a fit with your business persona. It also becomes an effective training tool for your team and onboarding new employees. The persona is how the vision comes to life. When the vision is clear for your whole team, they are empowered to constantly be working toward that common goal and your organization achieves greater success.
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