Dinesh Karthik is not a brand plan

LinkedIn has a lot of “inspirational” posts. A recent one from my timeline is about Dinesh Karthik’s ups and downs.The takeaway varies from “all’s well that ends well” to “there is justice in life” which is the custom bit of the post.

A trendy topic gets eyeballs, likes and even comments from jaded readers like you and me. In marketing terms it drives “engagement”. But is it relevant to the person posting the content? How does having a post get eyeballs connect back to your brand?

If you add a personal comment that links to your interest in coaching, or sales, or sports, or marriage counselling, or, well, brand strategy, then there is a fit. Otherwise you get awareness, maybe even engagement, but it doesn’t add to your brand value.

Many companies are now in this boat. They have a content strategy that is independent of their brand blueprint. What makes the brand unique? Why should you choose it over others? For example, let’s say a restaurant posts about a 20% discount on their breakfast. You see it and you may buy it. But next day you might jump to the next restaurant offering you a 25% discount. On the other hand if the restaurant was building its brand around a healthy start to the day and sent you content on how their breakfasts were designed as per medical guidelines or endorsed by a yoga expert, you may become a regular.

Volume of posts, engagement with the posts – these are not indicators that the posts are building your brand value. In the absence of a clear brand blueprint that clearly tells all brand stakeholders that “we stand for health” or “we stand for innovation” or “we stand for organizing information as simply as possible” and ensuring that all communication aligns with this chosen value, each post is like a new standalone sales flier, that does not benefit from the past or build for the future.

In the past brand budgets had a clear distinction between “above the line” which referred to brand campaigns and “below the line” which referred to promotional campaigns, usually not in mainstream media.  Not using mainstream media does not mean that there is no need for a ‘brand campaign”. If every communication has to ’sell’ then there is no opportunity to share the story of “why”.

A good brand reduces friction to sales. It also reduces your cost of sales by “pulling” customers to you rather than your having to push the product to them. Profits go up because people are willing to pay a premium to associate with your brand. This is the primary role of marketing – sales is the outcome of good marketing.

Ever wondered why India has amazing innovation and products which somehow don’t get their due in terms of global marketshare or profits? I think it’s because our marketing skills lag behind our product innovation skills in multiple sectors. I believe that it’s impossible to scale a business without marketing I talk more about this in a YourStory interview.

Back to the Dinesh Karthik story of love, betrayal and success. What should you do before sharing it? Well, step 1 is to identify the overarching attribute of your personal brand – what do you want to be known for/as? Step 2 is to build a connect between this juicy piece of content and that attribute.  And Step 3 – if you are able to find that connect – is to post it. Even better is if you identified your attribute and then proactively looked for a juicy piece of connected content to post every day or as often as you feel able.

I have found weekly to be my sweet spot – I am unable to sustain a more frequent rhythm – and less often is insufficient to continue a conversation. Which is what I hope this newsletter is.


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