Your brand is also what people are saying when you’re IN the room!
An oft, maybe even overused definition of a brand is the (alleged) quote from Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com). You know the one:
‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
And I used to love using this definition too. Of course, that was years ago. It was useful in the early years of social media or when brands were finding that tried and tested traditional marketing techniques just weren’t working as well. The point being that it’s not what you tell people your brand is. It’s what they say it is that matters. But increasingly when I see this quoted, I’m not sure it’s quite right. Or rather I think it’s a bit misleading when it’s used in isolation and out of context.
Here’s my main issue with it:
Your customers will be saying the same thing about your brand when you’re in the room.
You may not be listening when they’re saying it. Or there may be so many voices in the room that you can’t quite hear your customers over the general noise. But they are definitely saying it when you’re in the room too.
Obviously you can’t control what they’re saying about your brand. But you can make sure that you’re always in the room. And you can listen and respond – quickly and genuinely. As Tim Leberecht says in his brilliant TED talk,
‘Companies have more control over the loss of control than ever before. They can design for it.’
He goes on to give brilliant examples of brands who do exactly that – not only joining the conversation but building it into what they do. But you can only do this if you’re in the room and you’re at least part of the conversation.
Even if you can’t control what’s being said about your brand, you can use the dialogue to inform what you do. And as a brand strategist, I find that way more inspiring.
Want to find out more about “being in the room”?
Brand by Me is running a workshop. Why not join us?
P.S. For what it’s worth, I do like other Jeff Bezos quotes. A lot. Like this one:
“Start with the customer and work backwards. Those two things, passion and customer centricity, will take you an awful long way.”