Brand vs Message

February 2015 · 3 minute read

Here’s a statement to think about:

If it’s not part of your known brand, is it hurting your message?
Let me backtrack that thought process. I was a little while ago, a very sleep deprived father of two under two. The kids weren’t sleepers, I was a light sleeper that snored and I forced my wife to wear ear plugs some time ago. Hence I was the first responder to a lot of child night time incidents or I was referring it to my wife but still waking for the experience.

I looked in the mirror after a while and realised I was a mess. An overgrown beard, shaggy torn jeans, a jumper that had been worn out and was hanging off me and often some form of dried child fluids on my shoulders as they gave me a parting gift via cuddles in the morning.

I decided as I came out the other side of this sleep depression, that I needed to look the part as more and more I was managing people in a company and addressing customers that were parts of much bigger corporate environments. The key part here was I knew my stuff regardless of my apperance. I can plan software end to end. I just needed to look like I could to be given the chance to.

Cut to today and I started thinking, if I guy walks in with a hoodie to a corporate job interview, the interviewers are likely to judge that person poorly for it. And yet there have been some incredibly successful hoodie wearing technology drivers. The thing I realised is that they have a known brand and that dress sense or resistance to the social norm is part of it. They became established and established that brand.

Now I know plenty of people that resist a shirt and pants saying it’s not who they are and they wont conform. But it has me wondering if people don’t know you or your brand well enough will they be too busy judging your dress sense to hear your message which in this case is that you are indeed highly skilled?

As we might resist society some times, some times you have to play at least some of the game if you want your message heard by fresh ears. Once your brand is strengthened, then you can start to deviate in a way that is an evolution of your brand. At that point deviation becomes part of your brand and marketing, just like a black turtle neck sweater.

Any time you are about to think “but I am different” you have to wonder is that accurate and known? do people know me or my business well enough to know that this difference is a strength and not just something that is creating a lack of trust?