Recently, I had a conversation with my husband about branding and we were talking about the sexual freedom of women movement powered by Amber Rose and the methods of Karrine Steffans that gained her popularity. These women had similar pasts or rather were perceived to have similar pasts but one has TV shows and interviews, while the other walks out on interviews if called by a certain name. This essentially is a lesson in branding.
Your voice, look, color, and presentation are your brand. From natural hair to a beat face to the shoes you wear on your feet. People pay attention and will respond accordingly. Here is the tricky part though. You cannot determine how someone sees your branding and perception is a personal fact. The images and positions we place ourselves in ultimately affect how our brand is perceived and can lead to us either branding ourselves or being branded.
Amber Rose took a controversial topic and used it to brand herself despite what the masses might think. Karrine Steffans told her hold truth and will now forever be known as a name she does not appreciate. You must control your narrative so that your truth is a truth that doesn’t align with certain stigmas. In business, this is even more important because it can make the different between a successful business and an “oh God not those people” response.
Let’s take a look at a few businesses that recognized they had branding issues. Remember ValuJet? Was that’s how it was spelled? Wait a minute, let me Google it…….
Yep, I spelled it right. Well, in 1996, this company was a very inexpensive airline based in Georgia. ValuJet was like the Family Dollar of airlines at the time. Well, flight 592 had illegal chemicals on board that caused a crash. Mind you, this company was already known for safety issues. From that crash, the FAA grounded the fleet for investigation and that name will forever be synonymous with death trap airplanes. Who did that company later become? AirTran, but AirTran will never confirm that, especially since AirTran is now Southwest.
The rebranding effort of ValuJet and Airways Corp (the holding company for Airtran Airways at the time) is what saved an otherwise dead brand. People watch what your company is doing and will brand you accordingly. Your colors may be great and everything is pretty but your branding is so much more. It’s your company image. Treat it well, control it, and brand yourself so you won’t be branded.