Picture of debt clock from US Debt Clock dot org.Be Authentic

An amazing story of authenticity comes from our local friend turned nationally syndicated radio icon, Kidd Kraddick. What does Kidd know about the ‘laws of branding’? Well, he built one of the top radio morning shows brands in the country by being authentic. Sure, it didn’t hurt that he was astute, quick with his words, and naturally funny. However, few can question Kidd’s authenticity. After learning of complications before his daughter’s birth, he saw an outpouring of support from fans. He knew what a responsibility he had with the platform he had built.

So, what did Kidd do? He used his brand platform for good. Kidd gave thanks to God for the safety of his own daughter. And, he used the gift of his brand and support of his listeners to help other families who had loved ones struggling with illnesses.

Conversely, too many brands are diluted by forcing an inauthentic message. Some DJs endorse products or charities that are not a good fit. Breast Cancer Awareness, which is a wonderful cause and one of the strongest cause marketing brands. It has been adopted by hundreds of brands from: The NFL, consumer products, retailers, schools, and work places. Yet, less popular and equally as deadly diseases remain unmatched. Adopting Breast Cancer Awareness within your brand will likely help gain support and will not necessarily harm your brand messaging. It may dilute it. How does the cause you support help your brand stand out. More importantly, how does it authentically address the needs of what ails your customers and / or their communities?

And, there are always exceptions to the rule. If being authentic is your excuse to authentically complain and trash others, leave that authentic guy at home.

Control Your Messaging

It’s hard to control your brand messaging if you don’t have uniformity within the leadership of your company, organization, or government party. Regardless of what side of the aisle you are on, you have to admit that the Republican Party lacks uniformity and clarity in their platform messaging. The Affordable Care Act, which by most examples of which we have heard and read, not just an isolated example, is anything but affordable. Watch Fox News, CNN, listen to talk radio, and read The Wall Street Journal. But, just talk to people in your neighborhood, and in most cases reported, people will experience a drastic increase in their health care expenses, not decline.

Yet, Republicans currently have a lower brand rating than the Democrats. Former President Obama, knowing about the problems associated with the ACA, used his power to delay the mandate on businesses and unions for one year. Even after his refusal to delay the individual mandate for ‘We the People’, his ratings haven’t dropped as much as the Republicans. Some Republicans think they should just try to get along. Even if they violate their conservative spending principals, they think getting along is a better solution. Others believe they should use a government shutdown to try to negotiate for an individual mandate delay. In business, when opposition strikes and preferably before it strikes, your messaging needs to be clear and plentiful. Especially, if you want to ensure that your blog, website, and all ad messaging supports your brand or at least, does not contradict your online platform message.

Focus on Your Audience

In broadcasting, it’s easy to think of the old school ways of broadcasting a message instead of approaching the building of your brand as a conversation. It’s not just about broadcasting out to an audience. It’s listening to what is coming back. It’s the conversation economy. It’s about connecting with your audience in a meaningful way just as Kidd Kraddick did every day with his audience family. He brought them into his life daily. Conversely, if you sat a dinner party and did all the talking, your dinner guests would not return for seconds. It’s the same way in building your brand. Yes, being bold and trying something new and innovative is important. However, testing your brand messaging is important too. Stop talking about what you have to sell and how your product is so great. Better yet, tell them how your product can solve a problem. Be like Apple, useful, not like the US Government, broken. Strive to be authentic like Kidd, not like the average politician. Regardless of the messaging, they many time do not follow through with focus on their audience, the American people.

The laws of branding start with who you are and how you can authentically relay your message. You want to connect not project. Your second law of branding is about controlling your messaging. And, most importantly, focusing on your audience. If you better serve your audience, you’ll better connect with them.

RIP Kidd. Help support Kidd’s Kids here. www.kiddskids.com

What three companies or organizations have brand confusion? What’s the fix?