In my living room sits a large steamer trunk. I believe it was made in the early 1920s. My father borrowed it from his grandfather when he left Holland to come to the United States in the 1950s. Today, more than a half century later, the beautiful, stoic trunk sits in my living room, where I admire it often.
I wonder about the company that designed the trunk. I think about the workers who nailed each individual nail head onto the leather exterior to give it its polished, yet rugged, appearance.
I wonder about the company that envisioned a lifespan for its product — a product that bears their name, design and logo. Did they intend their line of trunks to still be around ninety years later? Was the company that designed this high-quality steamer trunk concerned about their legacy?
In branding, we’re passionate about legacy – the reputation we create for our company today, and the way we will be remembered by customers, clients, patients and consumers a long time from now. We pay attention to how our actions, marketing, relationships and products reflect our values and our vision. If we say we’re about producing a product that will last… how are we doing that? Are we standing behind our guarantees? If we promise customers we’ll be responsive, do we return phone calls and email within 24 hours? If we promise clients they can trust us, how do we act in trustworthy ways?
Building trust is how we build integrity and credibility. By stating our values and acting consistent with what we believe, our target audiences can learn to trust us. Trust affects how our audiences will feel about us. If we want our audience to feel safe, valued, loved, validated and respected, we must build trust.
I love my work in branding. I enjoy helping companies – from local entrepreneurs, to global Fortune 100 companies – discover and articulate their authenticity in ways that make everyone in the room stand and shout, “Yes! That’s what we believe in!”
I love helping individuals discover that to stand out in the world, to make a statement, means you must understand what you’re passionate about. To be remarkable means to act with authenticity. To build trust means you act with integrity. Personal branding means you are as concerned with your reputation today, and your legacy ultimately.
When I think about the hands that crafted and assembled this beautiful weathered trunk in my living room, I see the care, the passion and the gentle touch it must have taken to produce something so rugged, yet so delicate. The company that set the design and the vision created a product that stood the test of time. The company that brought this trunk to life stood for quality and elegance. I can see why, 90 years later.