This morning while driving my daughter to school, I was surprised to see a motor vehicle that had pulled over to let out their child; however had done so in a hurry and was jutting out in the middle of the road so that other cars couldn’t pass.

Normally, I wouldn’t have thought anything of this (and those of you who do the school run would know that school drop off and pick up is bedlam at the best of times), however what struck me about this situation was that this car had a huge sign on the back, stating:

[Name] Safe Driving School, along with their contact number.

Really? Safe Driving School? I wonder where in the manual it recommends parking your motor vehicle so that it juts out in the middle of the road causing a hazard for other cars.

That certainly doesn’t seem ‘safe’ to me. More importantly, as a parent of teenagers who are at the age where they could benefit from undertaking some driving lessons from a professional driving school, I’d probably steer clear of this driver and her company.

The lesson here is that no matter where we are or what we are doing, we are portraying our brands (especially when you have your business name being publicized to the world – such as with a car decals and signs or business shirts that include your logo).

Here are some other occasions where I have seen people not being on-brand:

  • The Personal Trainer (or other health professional) who is overweight and smokes;
  • The Dentist, whose teeth look anything but like the pictures they have hanging in their waiting room;
  • The Professional Organizer who arrives late to your appointment with a briefcase and/or handbag that looks anything but organized;
  • The Graphic Designer whose own logo looks outdated;
  • The Web Designer whose website states ‘Under Construction’ on many of the pages.

A recent example of where I was not exactly on-brand myself was when I presented a short 60-second presentation at a business networking group. I have been a member of the group for a number of years as a Brand Communications Specialist, and therefore talk about the importance of communicating your brand in a powerful, influential and interesting way so that people are compelled to learn more about you and what it is you do.

On the way to the meeting I was caught by a traffic camera – the first time ever in my history of driving, so for me this was quite a shock. I had been running late and was thinking about what I had to do when I arrived and had inadvertently gone over the speed limit.

As this had never happened to me before I was quite worried, shocked and angry at myself, so during my 60 seconds I stumbled over a few of my words. This was obviously something that hadn’t happened before as one of my colleagues came up to me after the meeting and said “You stumbled on your words today didn’t you? That was quite a shock to us as we’ve never heard you stumble over your words. You’re normally very calm and professional when you speak.” Obviously I had not been on-brand – thankfully this doesn’t happen too often!

What about you? Have you seen business owners whose actions have not been on-brand that perhaps swayed your decision not to hire them?

Remember whether online or offline, you are representing yourself and your brand and could sway the decision for a prospective client to ‘not’ hire you because you were not on-brand.

What are you doing to ensure that you are constantly being on-brand? I’d love to hear from you – please leave your comments!


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