The Misrepresentation of your Brand, and its Consequences

Last Saturday my husband and I drove past a sign at the local park which read "FREE live music and sausage sizzle". We are new to the neighbourhood and keen to get involved in the community, plus we are die hard fans of FREE so we decided to go along.

And on Saturday night God created FREE LIVE MUSIC EVENTS

We packed our outdoor beanbags (because they're impressive, and comfortable) and premixed some bloody mary's in a plastic and totally inconspicuous bottle because we all know that if there are free sausages, the drinks will be $10 a pop to make up the cost.

We arrived at the park to find a few people scattered around and a bloke on the stage giving a speech. A far cry from the massive community music festival I had imagined but we dragged our ultimate seating arrangement out onto the lawn and took a seat.

(image c/- So Float)

And his voice did sound as sweet as an angel

And wax lyrical he did indeed. This fellow told his story of a very sad and wasted life of crime and violence, now wait a second, this isn't family friendly entertainment, I have a two year old with me here people...and where's all this free music?

Convinced it was yet to start I went to get a sausage. The older lady behind the BBQ handed me a sanga...but there were no drinks available at all. In fact there were no people drinking anything, and when I took a real look around, no instruments in sight either, how were they going to play all the free music? And that's when I heard the lovely fella up on the stage say:

"and then I found out that Jesus died for my sins, and that is why I am here today, why we are all here today"

BOOM! I'm sorry sir, but I think you have the wrong number

Let's get this straight, I was not there because I was a sinner. Actually this isn't about the fact that I somehow ended up at a religious recruitment event....I was there for a free sausage and some live ass music. I was there because I bought an idea. I saw the advertising, assessed all my other options and deemed this to be the most suitable proposition for my evening.

But I didn't get what I paid for, I was sold a misrepresentation. I invested my time and bought into a product that did not deliver what it promised. Sure it delivered something, but not what I was lead to believe I was getting.

Needless to say, dissatisfied with our purchase, we awkwardly high-tailed it out there, bean bags and toddler in tow.

So what's the point?

So what is the point of this story and how is it relevant to your business? It's simple. Your brand, your branding and the way you represent that brand to the public, the things you say and the messages you give people should sell your products and services.

What they should not do is create a false sense of something in order to attract people and then deliver them something different entirely.

Sure if you present an attractive proposition you will gain interest, hell, people may even stand at your door waiting to see you part the seas, or walk on water. But can you deliver?

Is what you're saying really what your sellin'?

Do us all a favour and review your inventory. If you're going to #getsocial then it's recommend that you first create a strategy based around what you offer. For example if you sell coffee, sell me the dream of the best coffee in the world, take me on a journey of its origins, let me imagine the smell of freshly brewed coffee on a beautiful sunny morning, Take some amazing pictures of your cafe, ask your customers to put some reviews on your page, create a blog written from the perspective of various coffee drinks with the common thread of coffee. You're sellin' coffee man! What you SHOULD NOT DO is misrepresent yourself by posting images of gorgeous Italians drinking coffee in foreign lands with their wind swept hair and espresso per favore. It's confusing.

Be yourself - No one likes a phoney

If you think of social media as a party, where you're meeting lots of new friends and getting to know people, you know that no one wants to hang with the guy in the corner who talks a lot of game but has no real substance. The people who try to draw you to them by telling you everything you want to hear and when you really get to know them, say by going for a coffee... you realise they're just a naked chick covered in coffee beans...and she has DIRTY FEET!

So how do you succeed?

Remember what your mama told you...Be yourself. Show us who you (when I say you I mean your BRAND) really are and you'll soon have many friends, and the right type of friends. When you start talking about what you really have on offer and do it openly and honestly you will start to attract the right type of customer. When you get into that groove, you will start to see engagement in your social media which in turn becomes a positive social marketing tool and converts into sales, referrals and positive feedback.

Next you'll need to create a solid social media strategy. Unfortunately it isn't enough to simply create A #Twitter account, posts some pictures of cute babies drinking coffee and sit back and watch the crowds roll in. You need to plan, create true content, organise your actions and work as far in advance as possible.

You'll need to photograph your product, encourage engagement from customers who are already loyal and think about whether you want to spend any money to get your started or pursue an organic means of growth (slow but good quality), timing is up to you.

So get started, think about who you are, what you want to offer and how to most accurately and honestly depict that. You can get creative, use words, images, videos, drawings, stories, anything you like but just show your true colours and you'll soon start seeing your customers.

If all else fails engage a social media consultant

There are many people out there who can give you advice. From Social media strategists and managers, content writers, media consulting companies, social seminar presenters to online tools, Google #Adwords, #Hootsuite and many more. Don't be afraid to call on on Social Media Consultant, you can get your strategy running sooner and get back to what you're really good at.

And that my friends, is social media success!