Every person has an event they attend every year. When you get a new planner or pull out the ol' calendar, its one of the first things you pencil in.
One of those events for me each year is College Royal. Its an annual event held at the University of Guelph put on by the students. It draws thousands of community members, former alumni and students to campus every March. And the best part? Its organized by the students for FREE for the community.
I got involved with College Royal when I was a U of G student, becoming President in my third year. And this year, my sister too was President - a (now) very cool family tradition. College Royal is like a community homecoming-alumni weekend wrapped into one, big event. You can't attend without seeing someone you know and stopping to catch up.
As I was walking around campus this weekend, I happened to pass a man wearing a Holstein Canada hat. The hat had that recognizable logo that I know all too well - a logo I grew up with as a dairy farmer and member and became so loyal too after working for HC as well.
Its amazing how a brand you are loyal too can make you feel a certain way. I wanted to walk over to this complete stranger and ask him what his connection was to Holstein Canada. Was he a member/farmer? Did he know someone who is a member? Did he win the hat? I'm sure he would have found me a bit
friendly forward, no intrusive? had I approached him with all these questions.
We are oh so loyal to the brands we love and have an attachment too. I laughed at how a cow head on a hat could evoke a conversation with myself.
Bernadette Jiwa of the blog, The Story of Telling, also recently touched on this same idea of brand loyalty and it got me thinking further.
We associate our loyalty with brands because of how they make us feel. If we want to become experts in our respective fields, we should want people to feel the same way our favourite brands do.
Its like how the swoosh on our running shoe, the blue cow on an icecream container or the half-bitten apple logo on our iPhone makes us feel. The loyalty we have to brands and the nostalgia we associate when we see these brands, is how we as personal brands should resonate for others. People are their own brand, whether they like it or not. This is something I'm going to touch on at a talk I'm giving next Wednesday night as part of the Ag Women's Network spring series events.
If you are trying to establish your passionate voice as an expert or are working to be that go too person in your field, ask yourself: how do you want people to feel about you and your work?
How do you make people feel?
How do you resonate with them?
What feelings are they left with?
Are they the same feelings every time?
These are the same qualities we associate with brand loyalty. Its important that just like that random cow head on a hat or the event you always look forward too every year, that you as a personal brand give off that same nostalgic, or dare I say warm & fuzzy feeling with the people and organizations you work with.