This is one of my favorite quotes, not just because it’s beautiful, but because I truly understand it. Not only am I lucky enough to be married to someone who brought meaning back to this word, but I’m also a parent, and when one becomes a parent, the word “love” is once again defined in a totally unique, new way.
The special Valentine’s Day quote that can teach you more about branding your business is this: “Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.”
Throughout our lives, love is defined for us by the individuals closest to us. Our parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles, our early childhood caregivers and teachers, our sisters and brothers and cousins and then as we grow older, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, fiancés and other significant others, and ultimately, our spouses and children.
When you think about the word “love,” everything that comes to mind whether happy or sad, joyful, painful – every memory, every twitterpated first date, every heartbreak – everything that has lent meaning to the word becomes part of its definition for you.
And here’s what this Valentine’s Day quote should teach you (or remind you) about branding your business: The brand (or name) of your business is just a word until people come along and give it meaning.
Because the brand of your business is made up of all of the meanings given to it by your customers, your prospects, your friends, your family – anyone who comes into contact with any aspect of your business.
All of these people assign emotional meaning to the brand of your business and the name of your business, with each and every point of contact. And every time they hear your business name, or your name, or one of your business’ representative names (your employees), all of those experiences work together to become the brand of your business in their minds.
You can’t control their perceptions. You can, however, work to design and control each and every touch point so that the meaning that customers and prospects assign to the brand of your business are infused with positive perceptions, words and meanings.
This is what branding is all about: the understanding that every channel by which a prospect or customer comes into contact with you is building the brand of your business in their minds.
And that’s why it is so important to take the time to define what you want those impressions to be and to design each touch point to consistently represent your desired brand image and messages. That’s why it’s so important to infuse your business culture with positive, customer-centric values and to hire people who share your values, so that your mission and vision can be fulfilled.
Your brand – the name of your business – is just words, until someone comes along and gives them meaning. Do you know what meanings are your customers and prospects assigning to your brand – and how to better affect what they are?