Tuesday, December 28

You are your own brand

I have never been a charitable guy. It doesn't mean I'm not compassionate, I just rather overpay to good people who make an effort to sell, rather than some slacker who sits there doing nothing expecting cash for sympathy.

So the story goes, I was on my way back home from the MRT station when this girl walks up to me. She wasn't pretty, but she was calm and reassuring. Before I had the chance to give her the "talk to my hand" signal, she reassured me that she wasn't selling anything (ya, right) and started hypnotising me with a genuine smile.

She asked me to give her 5 minutes to let her explain what she does, and I ended up giving her 15 minutes unknowingly. By the end of the talk, I'm now a monthly donor of the Singapore Cancer Society. I must admit I wasn't exactly giving because "I'm feeling charitable", but rather, I donated because I was buying into her story of why the charity needs to be supported.

We are our own brands. If you are pleased with the service that your real estate agent offers you, chances are good that you will still patronise him after he switched to an insurance agent or salesman.

When a salesman approach you with a product, there are 2 things that he is selling - the product, and himself. Don't believe it? Imagine a grumpy old salesman selling you the best stuff ever. Will you buy it? Conversely, imagine a charismatic auntie-killer salesman try to sell you something mediocre, will you buy it? =p

Say you want to start a business, and you are looking for partners with no particular skillset, who do you look for? Yes, people that you trust. So if you have established yourself as a reliable brand, it is more likely you will chance upon better lobangs in life.

For me, I like to associate my brand with my values - the knowledgable and optimistic problem-solver. It doesn't matter what you get me to do, you can ALWAYS expect me to get quality, and save time with what I have to offer.

So when I introduce a friend of mine to join a friend's company recently, they can jolly well trust my recommendation - I'm putting my entire reputation on it. And when you get me to introduce you a housing agent, you know that I'll either recommend you a GREAT agent, or none at all.

Building your brand has the following cause-and-effect. As you build up a stronger brand for yourself, people buy into you and give you more lobangs, and you just have to reciprocate - by working harder to justify it.

Think Tony Fernandes from AirAsia. Or my favourite Richard Branson. These guys have the word "no frills" and "smart businessman" written all over their face.

So what are some of the words that your friends associate you with? That is your brand, my friends.


HappySurfer said...

I couldn't agree more. Great post, Shingo!

khengsiong said...

Here, an interior designer with bald man is also making himself a brand. I see his advertisements on billboards here and there. Just not sure how strong the brand is.

Ai Shiang said...

Say merchandises these days. Do you buy their brands or the equivalent products? Since these days everything is made in China. Would it be different to buy on the brand alone?

Anonymous said...

Building a brand may take some time or even years and yet it can also be easily destroyed in seconds if one isn't careful. You're right that a person is his/her own brand ambassador...esp if you own a business of your own.

Anonymous said...

A good post about taking ownership of your work. I was going to go off on a rant about how this doesn't happen in some places, but I'll reserve that for a post. :)

Bananazą®‡ said...

Great post on trust. My dad used to tell me trust is your capital..

Netster said...

I love this post, this post appreciate a professional sales people. only those unethical sales people put people like me to shame.

Now I feel good of what I have done for my clients for many years. Servicing is not something we or I talk for fun. I really do it.

Who here would buy air ticket for your client when you're at home enjoying your time with family? Yes? what about for no pay, no monetary in return plus you use your own credit card pay first and drive your car few weeks later to collect payment (remember no service charge no nothing) and well do it as as when they call.

You are looking at the right person, me :D

You know, I get scolded by friends and even my wife. they said I'm just plain silly.

Service is at the very heart and soul of mine.

Netster said...

ops I forgot to mention, so people buy me not the products.

Just to proof the point

Wenny Yap said...

Interesting entry and it's true. It boils down to building a character with integrity.

MKL said...

I'm branded as a nice guy and as someone who never sells anything to them :P

Shingo T said...

Some product brands can speak for themselves - eg. Apple and Microsoft. But for many of us who are still unknown, no one knows our products, and thus we act as the brand.

Your dad is wise! ^_^

You will make a great partner. Use your results to show your wife and friends that building a personal brand was a great decision! Have faith in you, bro.

I respect your great character in separating cash from friends. Personally, I will never take selling as a negative attribute, as long as it is a win-win situation. I'm one who sells ONLY if my friends' needs are met. No big fan of hard selling - friends always come first.

Stefanie said...

It's scary to read your rational post, because I definitely will digest it with some kind of feeling. Seriously, thumbs up!

Twilight said...

You have done a good start to have a better and charitable New Year! I hope you will bump into more such ladies!! LOL

Happy New Year to you!!!!!!

Netster said...

Happy New Year! :)

I mention you in my latest post, Thank you for 2010.

Cheers & regards,

foongpc said...

Nicely written and I can't help but agree to what you said.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011 to you and family!!

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