Branding the Heart of Your Business

It seemed to me, before the internet and social media exploded, building a business was much simpler. Come up with a catchy, memorable name and logo, order business cards, place an ad in the yellow pages and you’re off to start making sales and deals.

Today, even having a simple flower shop seems complicated between internet presence, connecting clients with social media and creating some sort of niche so you don’t get lost in the crowd of fifty other flower shops in your area. Not only do you have to create yourself as a “Brand” but also develop your company’s “Brand Persona.”

What is Brand Persona?

I know what it means to have a brand, but now it’s not enough to have that even. Now your company brand should have its own persona. If you are confused about this, I was also. How does a florist or interiorscape company turn itself into some sort of living identity? You sell and deliver flower arrangements or create indoor landscapes. What more does the public need to understand what it is, you do? I’m going to explain the difference to help you find your business personality.

I assume most business owners understand that your brand is your name, logo, color scheme, and building design specifically created for your company. It’s all the visual parts of your shop. While your Brand Persona is the human side of your company. The side that has traits and emotions or otherwise known as a…personality.

When I first heard that term used, I didn’t quite understand the importance of it. From 1997 to 2006, my business strictly handled commercial interior landscaping only. How do you put a business personality on something as straight forward and simple as that? Today, my company’s main focus is still interior landscaping, but I’ve also branched into weddings, special event rentals, garden designs, holiday decor and home accessories. So my business is a little more complicated, but I still struggle with figuring out the human traits of all this. Does it really make any difference?  If like I was, you are still a little confused, here is a good example of Brand Persona.

Great Example of Brand Persona

When I moved to Jacksonville, Florida more than fifteen years ago, I kept seeing this one particular bumper sticker everywhere that said Salt Life. I didn’t quite understand the meaning until I researched “Salt Life” and found that it was started as a tattoo shared by two best buds, Troy and Mike. They were your average beach locals that loved to surf, fish and do basically anything by the shore. Those two words summed up their idea of paradise. Apparently, it also resonated paradise to a lot of other people. They started with the tattoo, made up some bumper stickers and pretty soon people started asking for more.

Flash forward to now. The two best friends went from a bumper sticker to a full line of clothing apparel and now, restaurants. As Troy put it back in 2004, “It’s just what we do: we fish, surf, lie on the beach. It’s a salt life.” The two friends sold Salt Life for $15 million in cash with two more payments promised in the amount of another $22 million in addition to more payments based on meeting certain revenue targets.

It blows my mind that what started as a tattoo among friends ended up making the creators multi-millionaires because so many people nationwide and even internationally connected with these two simple words. Their company’s personality conveyed all the joy and relaxation the ocean offers, from laying in the sand, to catching waves or even snagging that prized fish. To me, this nails the concept of Branding Persona and shows me how it can dramatically make a difference in a company’s bottom line.

Figuring Out Your Company’s Brand Persona

If you are unsure how to figure out your horticulture personality, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help narrow it down:

  • Is your company young, hip and edgy?
  • Would you describe your business as formal and grounded, catering to the elite side of the population?
  • Does your business have a fun side?  Or completely serious and formidable one?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe your company?

These are just a few questions I found helpful when discovering my Brand’s Persona. There are plenty more articles on the topic, websites for more descriptions, adjectives and even flow charts to help you figure it out. Creating a brand personality that others can relate to can set you apart from the competition. It also creates loyal clients that want to keep coming back as well as recommend you to friends, family, and co-workers. Even with social media today, I still believe word of mouth sales are invaluable to a growing business.

In this impersonal, commercial world, building a personality for your brand can be the difference between having a mediocre company or an international giant.

Photo credit: d-202 Corazon

Sherry has been part of the interiorscape industry for over fifteen years, starting at an entry level job at North Florida's largest greenhouse and currently owning two horticulture companies. At UMaine, Sherry majored in English where she worked part-time writing scripts for a local college TV studio.

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