Leadership / Management

Your brand is you


Photo by Xerones

This story made its way through our office's in-boxes earlier this week. It's a recent edition of "Ballgrams," an e-newsletter compiled by Jim Ball of The Goals Institute, and it's a simple but powerful reminder of where our branding efforts should really begin.

Ball tells the story of a recent stroll he took through Dulles International Airport after returning home from a long trip. On his way to the main terminal, Ball spotted three separate groups of women wearing striking, bright red overcoats. The coats weren't just striking; they were impossible to ignore. Heads turned throughout the airport. Finally, Ball's curiosity got the best of him and he approached one of the groups. In his own words:

"When I got within a few feet of them, I said, 'Who are you with?' They all smiled. The two women in front spoke in English-accented voices. They answered 'Virgin Air.'

"'Your coats are beautiful,' I said. 'They really stand out.'

"'Thank you, we like them, too,' one of the Virgin Air flight attendants said with a big smile. Then they went on their way.

"You would have to have been heavily medicated to miss seeing those Virgin Air flight attendants at Dulles that day.

"I have never flown Virgin Air, but I will tell you this: If I am ever booking a flight where Virgin Air is an option, I am going to try them.

"Here is my point: Organizations spend millions of dollars in advertising, marketing and branding efforts and they overlook what Virgin Air does not. Virgin understands that good first impressions are not just niceties for establishing and promoting a quality brand, they are critically important. In fact, first impressions may be the most critical factor. Virgin Air also understands that the people of Virgin are the brand. This is obvious, but many people miss this key point or do not take actions to address it properly."

Read the rest of Ball's story, then tell us: What are you doing to create that memorable, critical first impression?

FYI, you can read more "Ballgrams" and sign up to receive them via e-mail here.


Bill Sheridan