Orson Scott Card once said that “every person is defined by the communities they belong to”. Extend this to brands and you get the definition of the decade: every brand is defined by the community it belongs to. Because a brand is defined by its consumers, and its customers, by people. Before talking about a brand, we should talk about the community. Community does not refer here to the audience the brand wishes to access, but rather the audience the brand is already in reach with.
Today We Are Discussing:
- How to get started with a brand (in this case, a brand can be corporate or personal, it can even be a book or a blog – the word “brand” serves as a generic name)
- Mirror identities
- Communities: the why, the when, the how
- And much more…
Getting Started with a Brand
Base #1: You start with an idea, a dream, a (business) wish meant to materialize. Identify what works for you, that which is in sync with your ideals and principles. You cannot build a business, a brand and most importantly, you cannot build success without being passionate about the industry.
Passion for a profession, language (we can refer to programming codes as languages here or even marketing, as Digital Marketing is an online language) or industry creates an intimate connection between your business and you. It is different from a simple CEO, director or manager.
When you invest in a business, you also invest in yourself: the future of the business is directly related to your own, you feel every success and every failure; most importantly, you want the business to grow so that you can grow. The business is similar to your mirror reflection only in a more professional wide environment (source: FM Digital Group).
The mirror identities concept mentioned above has even deeper extensions: a theory in Social Psychology sustains that we see the others as mirrors. A mirror of the self: we see in others what we wanted us to be, a reflection of our own “self”.
The mirror identities concept can also be applied in a business, on a brand: whenever you create a product, you want that product to reflect a part of you. It can be an Ebook course, for e.g. The main thing is it must carry a certain signature. It is that which makes it recognizable.
[Tweet “At first, on a small scale, your brand is You”]
- If you wish to extend it to a corporate brand, it will still be You until a certain point. The only difference is that the brand will go through a fragmentation process: due to the expansion, each division/department will have brand representatives (country managers, CEOs, Media People etc.). So the brand becomes a whole team. It evolves from one person to a group. You will still remain the founder, the pillar of the brand.
Remember: A Brand Will…
- Reflect whatever you wish to reflect
- Grow if you wish to grow
- Cease to grow if you cease to grow
- Be the mirror of the person who created/wrote/funded/started the movement.
When you create a community, the same rule applies: you want to create a community that reflects your vision in a certain way, that shares your ideals, principles and set of rules.
p.s. You cannot build a community without setting a set of rules and principles.
Building a Community: the Why, the When, the How
Yes, we have reached the building a community part. As stated in the early beginning, nowadays a brand cannot be build without a community behind it, a group of people to support, share and engage with the brand’s principles. Let’s proceed to the point.
Three Principles of Community
A community will be part of and engage in these three major principles:
Seek Help No Matter the Costs
It will actually cost you almost nothing to ask for feedback, for solutions and for recommendations. In a community, this comes natural. You are not only helping your future brand, you are helping yourself and the others – the community members. The extra factor is that offering feedback and suggestions for improvement actually becomes a natural habit. It makes members feel part of something great.
Get Involved and Build an Image
As strange as it may seem, building an image for a brand is indeed necessary. To have a community that works as a sustainable base is the trick. For e.g., let’s say your business, platform or product wants to be simple, yet capable of bringing joy into a consumer’s life. Something that makes you feel complete.
The TNT Principle: Timing ’N’ Targetting
You can have one without the other: timing is as important as the audience you want to communicate the brand’s message to. There is no better time than Now. And there is no better audience than the world.
Remember: The community is the mirror of your brand and services in the eyes of the world. If the world finds it interesting, they will engage and become absorbed into the community. If you fail to build a community that can communicate your message and principles, you might fail in creating your ideal brand. You’d just create a business. But that business will not stand out from the rest.
What We Learned So Far
- Brand equals passion for an industry, product, service, idea.
- At first, you are your own brand. As the brand grows, you grow as well. At one point, the brand goes under a fragmentation phase, after which you realize the brand is the team. It turns from individual to collective.
- The mirror identities theory is applicable whenever you want to build a business. Your business will reflect you and you will reflect your business.
- No brand can become strong without support. A community offers support, feedback, measurable engagement rate. Before building your brand, build a community. A community will stay loyal to a brand and will help the brand expand and grow.
Before ending this article, just a word of advice: the human factor is what keeps things running. Do not ignore it, do not fear it, do not feel ashamed. Ask for feedback, ask for help, trust and value the people who are part of your brand’s community. Because without them, there would not be a brand in the first place. Even if most brands will never admit just how much of a role the community (consumers) had in the growth of a business.