A bit of a rant today — I’ve seen several situations recently where an individual has overcome some pretty impressive life challenges, pulled themselves up against the odds, conceived of, and opened a business that is operating that business in the black in this economy. Any of those alone would be a significant accomplishment, but combined? That’s a testament to the individuals in question. In my opinion, these individuals are to be congratulated and held up as a shining example of what America stands for — the ability to accomplish anything if you want it badly enough. What’s stunning though is the way some of these individuals are regarded by “professionals” who look down their noses at these people because they are uneducated, speak poorly, are “overly” eager, enthusiastic, or driven. They simply don’t follow convention or etiquette, either because they weren’t taught or (more likely) find it gets in the way of them achieving their dreams.
This strikes me as interesting on both a personal level and on a branding level. The reason is that Brand Rule #1 is decide what you stand for and stand for it. For these individuals, they have decided what they stand for and are more enthusiastically pursuing it than many of the “professionals” out there. Often these entrepreneurs create brands that are more informal in their nature. Sure, their brand won’t appeal to every segment of society – but neither will any brand, that’s why we create target markets. At the end of the day, people buy from people and from a brand that reflects their ideals and values. Beyond that, I, like most people, will buy from the authentic and enthusiastic business every time over someone too bored, too busy, or too apathetic to want my business. “Human beings are relational beings. We interact with each other and with the brands that are important to us,” notes Klaudh Galessami in The Best Business Decision: Branding. Informal and enthusiastic is a valid brand position, and it’s one that the right customers will flock to. It’s also an authentic position for these individuals and that’s critical to creating a successful brand position.
The moral to the story is that the very best brands are a reflection of the business. And whether you’re highly educated or didn’t get a chance at education but driven to realize your dreams, your business’ brand can be accurately portrayed to potential customers as long as you are consistent about it. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer. There is no brand that can be better created or positioned with an education vs passion. So give the passionate ones a chance and help them to realize the American Dream — it’s how we all got where we are, a few generations ago or in the years yet to come.