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Why my pony tail ain’t my brand

This is the next entry in our “Best of” series, in which we venture deep into the vault to replay blog opinion and insight that has withstood the test of time. Today’s post hails from February 2011. We welcome your feedback.

By Francis Moran

One day last week, I tweeted the message you see to the lower right because I was tickled by the email that came in. In my haste, however, I added a snappy hashtag and thereby made the same common mistake I often accuse marketers — even branding experts — of making.

The prospect who sent me that email remembered how I look. I will be the first to admit that a red — okay, rapidly greying — pony tail, full-but-tidy beard and what used to be a curly moustache do tend to set me apart from the average corporate consultant, even in the less-buttoned-down realm of marketing. Based on how I look, he was able to easily remember who I am.

He wasn’t, however, looking for a pony-tailed, bearded guy; he was, in fact, looking for a PR firm. And, because of whatever impression about my abilities as a PR guy that I had left with him during a past engagement, he immediately thought of me.

In that nutshell, then, you have the difference between branding and visual identity, something that, as I said at the opening, many marketers and not a few so-called branding experts often confuse.

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