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Branding yourself or your business.  A lesson from Lululemon Athletica.

Our generation has seen the immersion of new brands and movements, taking on names that immediately conjure an image or a lifestyle in our minds once we see a glimpse of a logo or the whisper of a name.  From the Change campaign of President Barak Obama, to the white glow of an Apple from behind a laptop screen, we take a brand and its associations as a deep connection to the meaning of that thing.

Branding isn’t just for the mega- corporations or political figures.  Branding is for you.

Branding yourself in work, in your social circles, amongst strangers, is a way to convey the messages you believe in without even having to spell them out each and every time. 

As women, our personal brands define the material we stand for and believe in- based on our experience.  She’s a killer negotiator, I want to have her in the room when we strike a deal.  She’s a terrific manager- all of the people she works with really believe in her and develop quickly.  She’s so connected to the cultural scene- I know that she’ll deliver on this project.

As our circles of influence expand and connect with the circles of others, it’s important that our message is understood easily.  Lululemon is an excellent example on how this can be done.  With both a corporate and a personal message, the company has successfully launched and maintained over 200 stores across the world, and brings a different message to each locale.  The company’s success isn’t strictly about buying yoga clothes- their message is driven by local communities and they speak the local language wherever they set up their presence.

What does this mean for me, or my company?  You need to talk the talk- directly to the audience in front of you.  If you are speaking to a room filled with hip 20 somethings,- connect with their culture and the city they live in.  Likewise, if you find yourself mingling with CEO’s and investors- speak about strategy and numbers.  Whether you are a social activist, a dutiful employee, or a budding entrepreneur, it’s critical to localize your brand.  And in these cases, your brand is you.

Localizing your brand based on the community you’re in, will set the stage for the most important thing in business- the connection.  If others connect with your art, they’ll buy it.  If managers believe you’re an experienced professional with expertise in their line of work, they will hire you.  If your friends understand what you do and know you’re confident with it, they will recommend you when opportunities arise.  It’s up to you to build your branded presence and tweak it in order to connect.  Once you’ve accomplished that- the world is yours.

Take a look at how Lululemon did this with their stores.  They connected with one community at a time, and they localized.

Picture By Joel Nilsson (Carrie -Yoga shoot #003  Uploaded by High Contrast) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

http://investor.lululemon.com/

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