In a sense, everyone connected to your organization is part of your marketing department.
The term “brand ambassador” is probably an overused buzzword these days, but the idea behind it is sound. Each person at your organization represents part of your story. What they say, what they do, even what they wear say something about your organization’s service, products, and culture. (Consider blue-jean clad Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos).
Each promotion you create is also part of your story. Good branding presents a unified face to the world using a unique but consistent tone of voice, original images, one-of-a-kind events, and meaningful personal interactions.
Your members, too, tell pieces of your story—in tweets, testimonials, conversations, and referrals. This storymaking is as critical to your brand’s success as the stories you craft and promote.
Marketer Seth Godin explains his in book All Marketers are Liars, “The problem with first impressions isn’t that they’re not important…but that we have no idea at all when that first impression is going to occur. Not the first contact, but the first impression. That’s why authenticity matters.”
How often have you left a conference with a stack of business cards and very little memory about who’s who? When it comes time to follow up on those leads, you won’t remember exactly what was said at first contact. By establishing a consistent, authentic story, you won’t have to worry that the values you promoted at the show are the same ones your organization can stand behind.
Not only is authenticity effective at attracting your tribe members to you. It’s easy. Your organization has too many moving parts to maintain various fronts for different audiences at different points of contact. Being authentic at all times ensures the consistently right impression with little effort from you.
Remember, it’s a rare company that changes anybody’s mind. Your goal is to find your tribe, the people whose worldview suggests they will already believe what you’re saying. These people are just waiting to connect with you and be inspired. And they can’t do that unless you are authentic and vulnerable at all times.
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