Everywhere we turn in Singapore, there is a McDonalds outlet and the person next to you is using an Apple smartphone. He may be listening to the newest Rihanna song or wearing the ever popular Havaianas flipflops.
Like it or not, we are surrounded by brands everywhere we turn. In fact, we are using brands on a daily basis. All the brands are screaming out to us and sending subtle messages such as “choose me” or “use me” to our minds. Branding means different things to different people. To some, it means the logo. To others, it means the slogan. To yet others, it means the name.
To me, branding is a multi-sensory engagement of the various human senses as it’s all about perception. Yes, that’s my definition as I’ll share in greater detail.
I am very privileged to be invited to conduct a 3 hour branding workshop for Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Army Officers Management Centre (AOMC) today.
Seated in front of me were 28 regular officers and 19 NSFs of different ranks. Akin to a retreat style, the Commanding Officer (CO) opened the workshop and promised his officers an interesting eyeopener ahead.
You may ask yourself – what has branding got to do with the individual? To be honest, it has plenty!
Just like how corporations and conglomerates have a corporate or business branding, so too must we adopt our own personal branding. We brand ourselves so that people know who they are interacting with. The stronger our brand, the more long-lasting our overall image in the minds and hearts of others.
Recall my definition of branding?
As a business owner, I brand my business so that my existing customers and future customers can identify with it. I brand my business not because I need to, but because I have to. And the best way to brand it through the various human senses…so that you see my brand, hear my brand (through testimonials) and feel my brand. In all, I am connecting with you on an emotional level.
Throughout the workshop, sharings and more sharings led to the participants getting to know one another better. And from what they shared, I helped the participants extract the true value. For example, when a female captain shared about herself being very good with people, I jokingly mentioned that she should consider a posting in human resources. True enough, she revealed she was already working in HR! And when a NSF shared that he cycled to work every morning, I shared that he could be doing this for two reasons – either he was trying hard to save money (as we know NSFs don’t earn a lot each month) and/or he was doing so to adopt a healthier lifestyle by sweating it out in the mornings. He said it was a combination of both.
You are what you brand yourself to be. It may be your persona but it is still your branding. Our branding is our image to the world. It is how you carry yourself and how you want others to perceive you.
Unlike other workshops when participants came, listened and left without an action plan, I liked it when the CO stepped forward towards the end to get his team to share how they could put today’s learning into concrete action plans – starting with both self and AOMC.
The branding journey is a never-ending one. Just like how one brand evolves over the years as the business grows, so too must an organization continue to focus on its branding efforts so as to propel itself forward.
You know you will never go wrong when you kick out the bland and focus on the brand! So what’s your brand strategy? I’ll be happy to be part of your branding journey 🙂
PS: For security reasons, no names can be mentioned and no pictures taken. But here are the testimonials from my satisfied army officers :p