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Brand Management: Taking what's Given to You

A Tiny History of Branding

In Egyptian times, thousands of years BC, they would brand animals so that you know which animals belonged to you. As early as the 1200’s, English bakers had to put a unique mark on each of their products. And today, you don’t have to look very far to find articles and books on branding, brand management, and how to go about claiming your brand. But if we’ve spent any time together, you know I say one thing over and over about brands:

It’s not what you say your brand is, it’s what they say it is.

A Small Experiment

Do me a favor. Open up another browser window and go to Google and search for this phrase: “woocommerce consultant”. Go ahead, I’ll still be here when you get back. But look at the results.

Did you notice that my site is ranked #2 for that phrase? (at least it was at the time of writing this if you turn off personalization)

I want to share with you the quick story of how it happened.

A Big Disclaimer

I normally try to share with you my strategic thinking. I want to help you be more strategic. I’m going to do the same thing right now. But guess what? I came upon this truth by mistake. No strategy involved. Total blunder.

So how did I end up ranking number two for “woocommerce consultant”? Well, first, let me explain that WooCommerce is a free e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It’s a powerful plugin and makes setting up e-commerce sites much easier than ever before.

Here’s What Happened

  1. I wrote a single article about woocommerce.

  2. A few random long phrase search results sent some traffic to me.

  3. I noticed it and wrote a few more articles.

  4. More random traffic came.

  5. A few local folks started asking questions – and I answered.

  6. Suddenly more traffic & even job requests came in – I was suddenly a “woocommerce consultant”.

Does that look hard? No. Did I start out looking to own that phrase? Nope.

Ready for the Simple Secret on Brand Management?

When you walk into a room full of people, the folks in there – especially if they know you – know you for something. Have you ever thought to ask what it was? A few years ago I started asking people directly, “When you think of Chris Lema, what do you think of – professionally?” (I add the professionally, because Large Sexy Latino Man is too obvious). I started hearing phrases I hadn’t thought of before. They were all true. They just weren’t what I thought about when I thought about myself.

Someone has already put you in a corner of their brain. They’ve already given you a spot. They’ve put you in a box. And that doesn’t have to be bad. If you know what that box is – and you’re fine with it.

People put me in the entrepreneur box. I don’t mind. They put me in the product strategist box. I love it. They put me in the mentor corner. All good. They think of me when they think of virtual teams or remote management. Perfect. And recently…they’ve started thinking about me as a WooCommerce Consultant.

I know you have your own idea about the corners you want to own and claim, but don’t run so fast past this simple truth:

If people have already branded you, and it’s a brand you like and appreciate it, claim it for yourself and own it.

Now don’t go writing comments about how simple that truth is, because I told you at the outset that it would be. But too often we move right past it and forget to ask people how they see us.

So go out there and ask!

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