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Laura Bull on Branding

The Connection Perception

by Laura Bull

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued.”

Brene Brown

Consumers in the Digital Age are becoming more distant from their fellow neighbors, but they still crave and seek out personal connections. Even if relationships with influencers are only one-sided, over a television set, through the radio, or online, the consumer perceives a genuine connection. In the midst of Facebook advertising plans, sponsorship proposals, and interview pitches, have you ever stopped to ask yourself if your followers/consumers feel valued? Do they share a legitimate connection with your brand? If so, what?

I was recently asked in an interview which strategies I would share with a small company to build a trusted and believable brand. Here’s one of the most important strategies I shared:

Look inward for a brand identity instead of outward.

This may sound obvious, but it’s human nature to look outside of ourselves for social norms and inspiration. This causes us to see, and sometimes become overly focused on, the competition. “What are they saying? How are they saying it? It’s working for them, so I need to implement those elements to gain traction.” Wrong. Remember, branding and marketing are two different beasts. So, while this outward viewpoint may be beneficial to deciphering the most effective marketing strategies or advertising campaigns, this mentality is detrimental to the branding process.

Looking inward for brand identity ensures that:

  1. Unique qualities are accentuated. Only unique influencers become truly powerful. And there is a good reason. Why would a consumer listen to one person when the same thing is already being said by someone else in the same way? Leaning into the elements that make a person unique in the marketplace, instead of trying to conform, will help the brand stand out. For instance, why would a person buy The Rock’s new tequila over George Clooney’s Casamigos? Both are actors, both are pushing the same alcoholic beverage…but there is a clear difference between these individuals. And that uniqueness is precisely what is going to sell their product.
  2. Authenticity is created naturally. An influencer must be trustworthy to influence mass populations, and this only occurs when their narrative comes from an honest place. Consumers seek out a personal connection with people and products they can stand behind. By embracing the elements that already exist naturally within a personality, a bond is created with whom the brand is meant to connect.
  3. Focus and clarity are bolstered. Maintaining an inward view at the beginning of a brand will decrease second guessing of the brand in the future. Therefore, marketing strategies run smoother and obstacles are easier to overcome. If we are constantly looking at what others are doing, we will miss out on what we should be doing.

One of the advantages of using my Brand Matrix is to discover the ONE grouping of elements that is UNIQUE and AUTHENTIC to each individual out of the million and one possibilities. It allows a deeper introspective dive to ensure competitiveness in the marketplace and a lasting connection with a brand loyal customer. Remember, they are craving honest connections through any means available. So why not give them what they want?

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Laura Bull is an author and brand strategist who specializes in transforming people into competitive and sustainable business brands. Early on in her career, Laura spent ten years with Sony Music Entertainment, becoming one of the company’s youngest executives at the age of twenty-eight. During her tenure, she spearheaded artist development and marketing for globally recognized brands including Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, and Johnny Cash among hundreds of other artists.

Grab your autographed copy of From Individual to Empire: A Guide to Building an Authentic and Powerful Brand from my store. And take a step forward with your business goals and connect with other influencers/public figures in my newly created The Influencer Incubator facebook group. 100% free and 100% good tips and conversation on how to build your brand.

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