Does your lion bark?

I had a recent conversation with an independent professional.
We discussed her desire to create a “personal brand.”
Now you may dislike the word “brand.”
Especially when used to describe a human being.
But it is a marketplace distinction worth understanding.
Today, that passionate woman has a “name.”
Let’s call her Jane Doe.
Jane Doe would like to associate her name with a particular expectation of value.
That’s called “branding.”
Until that happens, Jane Doe remains simply a name.
A beautiful name, but a name nonetheless.
And one with little marketplace value.
Some day in the future the “name” Jane Doe and the “brand” Jane Doe will be functionally equivalent (it remains Jane after all).
But the effect will be dramatically different (hopefully).
People will pay attention to the brand Jane Doe.
And without the added expense of coercion.
People will pay money to the brand Jane Doe.
And typically multiples more than to the name Jane Doe.
People may even do some “little m” marketing for the brand Jane Doe.
Through word of mouth (and word of mouse).
See the difference?
A brand isn’t a carefully crafted image.
It’s a mental construct.
A proxy for expected value.
A zoo in China recently learned this critical distinction through the pain of experience (and I’m not making this up).
It designed a dog to look like a caged lion.
Which was all well and good, until the “lion” started barking.
A branding faux pas that naturally enraged the zoo’s customers.
But not because of the image.
As far as they new, it was a fine looking lion.
In fact, it succeeded in attracting their eyeballs and their money.
Rather, it was the “brand” that failed.
Because it forgot that both image and expectations are important.
Awareness and value.
Cash flow and credibility.
I’m witnessing this error more and more in today’s marketplace.
But I’m not worried.
And you shouldn’t be either.
Because people will eventually sort it all out.
They’ll go to the platform.
Tune into the show.
Click on the link.
And then listen very carefully.
To hear if the lion barks.