Great Brands That Compete on Value: Get Familiar
Similar to, and expanding upon, what we discussed last month – the importance of sharing personnel news about the people who power your business and who also play a defining role in its brand identity – there’s another component of our publication that’s even more impactful.
It all began with the goal in mind of better acquainting those in our community with key business professionals in the area. We wanted to go beyond the standard content you’d commonly find in a news release, which is by design a summary that succinctly touches on several key points – news, position/duties, experience, accolades, perhaps a sentence or two of personal information depending on preference, and company details (boilerplate). While there’s a little room for creativity and nuance, the majority are fairly straightforward. As the magazine gained momentum and developed out of its infancy stage, with a growing readership that afforded us a unique platform as an only-business-focused publication with all-local content, we decided to develop a special feature through which local business professionals could connect to our audience on a more personal level.
To that end, we created a standalone column in a Q&A format that allowed us to capture a more in-depth picture of the prominent professional and personal aspects of each individual. It seemed fitting to display the six professionals featured on the cover too, which increased visibility that much more. The result was a unique human-interest piece that’s one of our most noticed and well-read features in the magazine to date. Its popularity is not only evidenced by the feedback received by and from our clients, but also according to page views on our website.
The Star City Six column succeeds because it focuses first on the featured individual’s company and professional background that piques interest, but follows that up with more in-depth personal information that keeps it.
The professional aspect helps us understand his/her qualifications and backstory, positioning that persona as a credible expert in his/her field and with the company – thus, adding credibility to the brand.
The personal aspect helps us become familiar with the person who is in the role, which in turn helps us relate to him/her and compels us to “like” or “dislike” that person accordingly.
While people are always interested in personnel news – new hires, promotions, certifications, training, awards, volunteer efforts, causes supported, etc. – they are also generally interested in having an idea about who a person is with whom they choose to do business, or to whom they give their business and referrals. Our individuality, image (appearance + reputation), personality, viewpoints, priorities, affiliations, actions, and the life experiences we share with others are all a part of our personal brand.
The term “branding” tends to be related to companies, but today, nearly every individual has a personal brand. Although not necessarily something that a person has consciously built for him or herself, it exists nonetheless. How we perceive the world around us also helps us define it in our terms, and in the business world, that goes for the company and its team of professionals.
Consider the following definition courtesy of Wikipedia: “Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.” One’s personal brand contributes to the construct of the company’s brand, and vice-versa.
For a company, that’s big, as it drives business – because as you’ll hear me say time and time again, people do business with who they know and like. When there’s a sense of familiarity and commonality, you feel more confident and comfortable giving someone your business. Truth be told, it feels good to give business to someone in your community who you know really deserves it as opposed to a stranger you know nothing about.
We encourage you to check out our Star City Six each month to get familiar with the many talented professionals here in Lincoln who contribute to our thriving business community. And if you’d like to be in front of a large audience of fellow businesspeople and consumers right here in our city, I encourage you to get in touch to find out how!