People’s attitude to your brand is essentially the ultimate goal of building a brand.
It is people’s attitude that drives subscriptions, attention, sharing, and eventually – sales. So how can we change or create people’s attitude to a brand?
In short, we can’t. People’s attitude is a product of many factors, and most of them are beyond our control.
However the article doesn’t end here, so there still is something to be effectively explored.
We usually see attitude as something that comes from other people.
Here’s the model:
There’s no lack of techniques with the claim that they enable control over people’s attitudes. But in the model, where “attitude is something that just comes from them” these techniques are simply sets of manipulation. Manipulation is unethical, usually quite ineffective, has a solid tendency to ruin your brand’s reputation.
It is morally very burdensome for you to build people’s attitude to your personality through constant manipulation. Mentally healthy people are rarely capable of maintaining such activities. Sociopaths are great manipulators, but this is nothing to aspire to.
Besides, such manipulative techniques never take into account one crucial factor – the overall context in which our audience lives. Such contexts are so fluid, multifaceted and unpredictable, that it’s simply impossible to effectively count for them in manipulative quests.
The good news is that this is not the accurate model of human interaction. It may seem that people’s attitude to you just come from them. In reality these attitudes are reflection of what you radiate into the world. Let’s call it your “pitch”. Not a verbal manipulative pitch, as in “elevator pitch”, but something you actually exude into the world as a brand (and as a person).
Simply put, what you send into the world, returns to you in the form of people’s attitude. It is true both for interpersonal relationship, and for audience relationships with your brand.
Here is what it looks like in my imagination:
So what if you try to “pitch” an image of success and happiness, but you receive mistrust and disrespect?
What if you try to “pitch” love and care, and receive defensive behavior and resentment?
Does it prove the model wrong?
No it doesn’t.
When you think “I pitch”, what do you consider as “I”?
Who is the “I” that radiates vibes into the world through a brand?
Wait, it’s not some philosophy trick, it’s a plain and very practical question. See, we all have adaptive behaviors, that are usually invisible to us. In other words, we are unaware that we pitch what we actually pitch.
This behavior has developed over time, and creates what I call “outer layers of personality”.
For example, if you have some insecurities about yourself, that developed in childhood and were not properly addressed, your survival mechanism will “address” them by creating an “outer layer” of annoying bragging. A compensation.
We often identify ourselves with such outer layers, especially when the insecurity that causes them, is triggered.
So if you stand in front of potential investors, now literally pitching a project to them, and your good old insecurity gets triggered, you will not radiate prosperity and trust. You will radiate whatever that compensatory layer is, and your audience will reflect it with their attitude to you.
Besides, other people have their own compensatory “outer layers” that distort their perception and interpretation of what they receive from you. It is one of the factors that you can’t control.
It’s not getting easier, is it?
It won’t be easy as long as we identify ourselves with those “outer layers”. It’s a whole live’s truism, not just a “branding thing”.
These compensatory mechanisms initially evolved to protect us, but quite often in complex human relationships they interfere with our best intentions.
We can’t really change people’s attitude, but we can largely increase the possibility of it being what we intend it to be.
By “pitching”… not so much the right message, but from the right place. From the right Self. By choosing the “I”.
Beyond these compensatory layers there is a core of your personality. There’s your unique authentic Self, that can “pitch” into the world as well.
The message from that core of the Self is powerful and it often breaks through other’s compensatory layers and reaches their “core Self”. It is the level of interaction, where both parties feel the depth, the value, the authenticity and enjoy quite remarkable experiences.
The kind of experiences you want people to have with your brand, if you want their loyalty.
How can you pitch from your core Self?
By not being scared.
By admitting that there are fears, and releasing them.
By becoming more aware of your layers.
By discovering what there is beyond your habitual behavior, especially if this behavior doesn’t bring the attitude that you want to receive.
And by letting your brand reflect the Self that you have discovered.
This is where values, vision and mission come into play. These are not just well sounding words written… somewhere, and sometimes repeated at your team-building events, and pitched to you clients and investors.
The words will do nothing for you, if you just make them up, or worse – have some “brand consultant” make them up for you.
Values, mission and vision of your brand is what must come from the core Self of yours.
They are conceptualized aspects of your core Self.
And as such, they should be what guides your state of being, your words, your visual signals, and every aspect that you – as a person and as a brand – “pitch” into the outer world.
Your content strategy, your customer relations campaigns, your policies, you graphic design, your product should be consciously and intentionally aligned with the values, mission and vision.
No action is too small to be aligned with your values, mission and vision if you want to inspire true loyalty.
Radiate your values, mission and vision, without necessarily naming them. It’s actually vulgar to speak literally about such things, it sounds cliche, and it takes away the depth of meaning from them.
Be them. When you actions and your presence are guided by values, mission and vision, they will reflect from other people in the form of loyal attitude to your brand.
And to you as a person.
The line is pretty blur after all.