When I'm out talking about branding at networking events, I often speak to people who say they have a boring brand. This happens all the time, and it kills me. We go networking to make important contacts and hope to leave a good impression. Can you afford to waste this opportunity to shine by making yourself look insignificant? I don't think so!
I personally often wear my Apricity Girl outfit. It's a great excuse to joke about alternative corporate workwear, and talk about Marmite. Which is actually the same thing. How, you ask? Well, let me explain.
A STROKE OF GENIUS
A short preamble: I'm originally from the continent. Marmite isn't a thing there. I didn't even know that stuff existed before I came here in 2007. And from a business point of view, it's bloody genius.
Think about it. At some point, somebody looked at the sticky bits left at the bottom of a vat after they'd made beer and went, I'm gonna sell that to people. Looks pretty disgusting. Tell you what. Let's say it's supposed to look like that, and if you hate it, actually that's brilliant.
Because just by talking about how disgusting you think it is, you're doing our marketing for us.
In a nutshell, that's how branding works. It's not about great design, even though that helps. It's about figuring out what makes you stand out, and communicating that fact proudly and consistently. And if you're clever about it, you'll get die hard fans (and some haters, but that's OK too).
MARMITE AND SMALL BUSINESSES
Why is Marmite a good example for small businesses? Because we can't please everyone. In fact, I think it's humanly impossible to please everyone. People even have preferences over something as essential as toilet roll.
Just by showing up as yourself, you're almost guaranteed to put someone off. So as far as I'm concerned, you might as well do what you really want to do, and as loudly as you want to. Hence the outfit - the geek in me thought it was a fun idea, and it certainly stands out, especially if I do a trade show.
And it does polarise. I get plenty of those incredulous double-take looks. But then I also get lots of people coming over wanting to talk to me precisely BECAUSE I'm wearing it. My superhero persona is all over my marketing material, too. And it does two things:
I'm having fun. If I'm having fun, I'm presenting myself better, and will make a better impression. I will look like a better prospect.
It will attract clients who *get* me. Who like what I like, who think it's fun too, who are on the same wave length. Together we'll have more fun doing their projects, and they'll get a better outcome. And the haters? I think it's safe to say I wouldn't want to work with those, anyway.
DON'T BE BLAND. BE MORE MARMITE
Thanks to the billion dollar movie making machines of Marvel and DC, it has become much more socially acceptable to be a geek over the last ten years, which is cool for me. But whether you align yourself with motifs from popular culture or create your own unique flavour, it is so important to not be bland.
Please don't be butter, which doesn't offend anybody but doesn't get talked about by anybody, either. Be Marmite, be goat curry, be fish sauce. Find what your ideal clients like, and PROUDLY be their favourite flavour.
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