When you sit down and talk about developing your personal brand, does it ever occur to you that perhaps the hard-core corporate view isn’t the best one to take when investigating something so deeply personal? Maybe branding isn’t the term you’re looking for when finding a way to translate yourself and your business into a tangible entity through printing. Maybe what you should be focusing on is finding your coda.
What is a Coda?
All of you musicians and English majors out there are all too familiar with the coda. It’s the ending of a piece, be it literary or musical, the finale, the conclusion. And if it is truly the beginning and the ending that stay with us when we walk away from a piece, your coda is the final impression that your clients, your partners and your colleagues will have of you and your business.
Your coda is what’s going to define who you are in the minds of the people you meet.
Creating Your Coda
A coda is a deeply personal thing. The implication, the final piece of you that people are going to carry with them when they walk away, is somehow deeper and more intimidating than the idea of creating a personal brand. “Branding” feels commercial, but the relationship you build with your customers isn’t going to be based on a commercial platform. It’s going to be deeply rooted in their thoughts, impressions and yes, feelings about you and the code of service and ethics you’ve created.
Breaking the Coda is a Death Knell
If the coda is the lifeblood of your business, then misinterpreting that coda is the death knell for the harmonies you’ve created between yourself and your customers.
I have to share a story here. Several years ago I moved and, because of our new location, had to sever ties with a service provider with whom I personally had been doing business with for a number of years. I’d always been impressed with their speed of response, the courtesy of their customer service and their willingness to do what it took to make sure their customers were taken care of, so it was with great regret that I made the phone call that would sever our ties.
I was regretting it a great deal less when I got off the phone with an overly zealous sales retention specialist. He went so far as to attack me personally when I said that I had enjoyed their service, but as they didn’t service our new locality I was going to have to move on.
They. Didn’t. Service. Our. New. Locality.
So here we were, a company I really liked that simply didn’t offer service in my new area (they’d warned us it was a possibility before we moved) and a sales person who believed I should continue paying my monthly bill even though I was going to have to seek out a new service provider anyway. We were at an impasse.
This man was this company’s coda.
You Only Get One Chance at a Coda. Make Sure You’re Doing It Right
A single employee. A single Tweet. A single, careless slip of the tongue. Small parts of the whole that can create a coda that drives your customers away rather than drawing them in. You only get one chance at a coda, and that coda should echo through every aspect of your communications with your customers.
Including your printing.