Branding Yourself: What Car Are You?

Branding yourself as a consultant or business is an instrumental practice today. There are different ways to ask the question and look at the options. There are many different models and questions to ask to get to your own elevator pitch statement, mission/vision statements, brand projection, etc. But we all like to fantasize about what car we’d get if we could have any in the world. So what if we apply that question to our own personal brand? What kind of consultant or business do we represent? Here’s some background to what I’m thinking…

In the small town where I grew up there was a hotel and conference center where I worked as a cook on weekends and after school. On the property there was a large hill separating the main hotel restaurant from the banquet center. So we had an old rusted red truck that moved everything. In snow and ice it was rough, but it was a 4-wheel drive for just that purpose. It was used daily, ran to town to the store for items we ran out of in the kitchen – was used to pull cars out of the snow or mud late at night – it was the work horse. It was no Lamborghini, but it kept running, was easy to keep up, pulled more than its weight and would pull you out of a jam.

Does that represent your own brand in your industry market? The strong, reliable work horse that won’t let up? Or are you one of these:
•    The Cadillac: The top-tier, expensive brand; quality (and expensive).
•    The Ferrari: Flashy, desirable, slick and beautiful. Attracts attention and dazzles the crowd; people want to be associated with a Ferrari!
•    The Jeep: Drives through anything and has fun doing it! It’s not work, it’s an adventure! You can get it used for a good price and its worth it for the fun!
•    The Volvo or the “green car”: The intelligent choice; the professor’s car. Fuel efficient, top engineering, high on safety – the smart car.
•    The Motorcycle: The lone wolf, independent, always on the move – ready to journey anywhere.
•    And of course our old truck work horse. Dependable, does anything, gets you out of a jam, helps other cars – does the big hard work, every day. Sooner or later everyone wants a pickup for something – always in demand!

It’s possible that you have two cars in your garage. Maybe you’re one car to one client base, another car to a secondary market. Maybe you have a business partner or sales executive who’s one car and you’re another. Either way, you are still more one car than the other. But maybe you have goals to be another. Knowing who you are, who your market thinks you are, and who you want to be all go into your brand. And it’s important to successfully project the right brand to your audience so that your market believes in your brand and isn’t confused. (For example, Harley-Davidson pulled off a Special Edition co-branding on a Ford F-150 truck – they made sense to the market of that limited co-branded auto. But could Harley have pulled off co-branding with a Volvo? Or a Prius? Probably not.).

So I raise the question again: Which car are you? Which do you want to be?

Thanks for reading, Jake Aull, Zen Fires Digital Marketing