The dos and don’ts of branding

WARNING: When I was brainstorming for this blog, I started with a mistake. I simply misread the topic and read ‘banding’ instead of ‘branding’. I corrected myself in an instant but the damage was already done. So, here’s the story of when I was a singer in a ‘band’.

How to build success

When I was a much younger lady (and I’m using the term loosely here), I did what any self-respecting young woman would do and I moved to London. London is in the heart of every traveller, rightfully so. The place is heaps fun, they have royalty, reasonable weather and warm beer on tap (ugh). 

What I also did, just like many other travellers, I picked up a second job in a pub, The Goldsmith’s Arms, in the middle of East Acton. The money was pitiful but you got tipped in drinks and if you had the right personality you could easily walk away with a six-pack of Bacardi Breezers every night. I knew I was living the dream.

After a few months I made some amazing friends on both sides of the bar. It’s true, once the English open up their heart, you’re in forever. Every work night was guaranteed madness. I also met two Aussie chicks, Kelly and Monique. We shared our love for parties, dancing and singing. We’re known for being fun (and unknowingly, we’re already building the brand).

So much so, that one night we jumped out from behind the bar straight up to the stage to sing at the usual Friday night karaoke. Lo and behold, the ‘Crap Sisters’ were born and the crowd went wild. Well, they mostly laughed but enjoyed the show nonetheless.

There was method in the madness

We became regulars on the pub’s (very thin) karaoke circuit. Every Friday night we had one song. We quickly worked out what worked and what didn’t. ‘I will survive’ and ‘Hey, Mickey’ were definite firecrackers. Every now and then we threw in some Madonna. We had a strategy.

We were also fiercely protecting the band/brand (you see how easy it is to make that mistake). It was always the three of us, no guest performances, and we loved being referred to as the ‘Crap Sisters’. After all, we’re acutely aware of our limitations. Which made the whole circus even more hilarious. 

Our terrible singing voices, paired with unrehearsed choreography may put us into the category of absurd but we knew our place and worked it to our advantage. We didn’t have to worry about our outfit because we performed in our maroon work uniform each time, which strongly added to our raw sex appeal. For sure. Anyway, we were consistent

And boy, we were different. Mainly, because we did this sober. We wanted to entertain as much as we wanted to be entertained. The regulars expected us to jump on stage. We were a fun adage to the Friday night shenanigans. We were the Crap Sisters.

The best part? Back then there was no social media, so you just have to take my word. No evidence. Nada. Eventually, we all outgrew our visas, and without a record deal in sight, now we all work in some comms roles back in sunny Queensland. Kelly has her own biz. Mon works in insurance. I teach and I market stuff. What a liberty. So yep, happy ending for all parties concerned.

How to make this nonsense work for you

Essentially, if you haven’t yet clued on, these are the things you should do when it comes to your brand:

Have a clear strategy. Know who you are. Define those boundaries, so it’s clear what you’re selling. Know your audience. Find out what they want and then deliver on it. Hard. They will love you for it. For the love of god, don’t go for wishy-washy. If you don’t commit, your buyer won’t either.

Be consistent. If it walks and talks like a duck… You should sound the same, look the same, have the same messages wherever you pop up. Have a schedule, and be on the same page with all of your staff. Don’t let your guard down and sit back once you get a logo. On its own it really means sh!t. Your voice, and your regular interactions with your tribe is your brand. It’s a myriad of things that you need to reign in.

Dare to be different. Be authentic. Do a song and dance about your brand, dare to poke fun of yourself. Dare to take risks. If you do, the right people will connect with you. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Avoid the same old jargon, or scaring away people with some patronising crap and an impenetrable website. Life is serious enough. People want to be entertained at the end of the day. Unless, your business is funeral services. Then, do tone it down.

Is there any song that you’d like me to perform at your kid’s bar mitzvah? Let me know in the comments.

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