Your Best Online Marketing Brand Will Be Invisible

Recently I was chatting with “Mary,” a neighbor who holds a responsible senior position in a major hospital. I told her I had just reviewed a really awful book on personal branding.

Mary frowned. “I hate all this branding stuff,” she said. “I don’t want a brand. I don’t have a brand. I’m just me.”

“But I bet you’ve got a reputation,” I said. “You’ve been around awhile. People say things like, ‘Mary’s the go-to person when we have a crisis.’ Or, ‘Mary’s completely reliable: when she says something, you know she’s as good as her word.

Mary nodded slowly. You could see the wheels turning as she realized she had plenty to brag about… and her brag would be the beginnings of her brand.

“You know, you’re right,” she said. “I guess I do have a brand after all.”

Mary is not unique. Many business owners claim they don’t have a brand. Sometimes they tell me they can’t see other people’s brands either. “Sam is a famous millionaire marketer,” they say, “and he doesn’t have a brand. He’s just… Sam. He doesn’t even have a logo!”

Of course Sam has a brand. It’s just invisible. And that means it’s even more effective. It’s stealth marketing: you don’t realize it till you’ve experienced the power.

It’s like make-up or a really good hair coloring job. “Professional make-up job” means people assume tell you’re wearing any. And we compliment our hair stylist when people say, “Oh, do you color you hair? It looks so natural.”

Bottom line: When it’s invisible, we feel we’ve reached the real YOU.

Recently I was listening to a teleseminar by a well-known media coach. I was struck by her unique speaking style, which communicates her brand: smooth, confident and completely different from most presenters. She doesn’t seem to be selling. She sounds casual and conversational.

But if you listen closely you will recognize some fine-ly developed marketing techniques. She seems to be telling stories but every line and every anecdote has a purpose. I sounds effortless but I bet she’s worked a LONG time to create that impact.

Some other examples:

– A successful marketer brands herself on her personal story, from fumbling start-up to confident international success (and a bank account that’s growing along with her business).

– A consultant brands himself by his experience in an unusual occupation that seems completely unrelated to his present field… until you learn the whole story.

That’s REAL Branding

These business owners feel comfortable sharing their strengths and claiming their bragging rights. They haven’t gotten hung up on colors or catchy slogans; in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find logos or slogans on their websites or even business cards. Their brand is about recognizing who they are.