Imagine the drawing of a banana by an unknown artist, now imagine the drawing of a banana by Andy Warhol. The latter is going to attract a much higher price than the former. It is a matter of branding, personal branding.
The origin of a brand is to be recognised, to be seen as different, think about Versace. A brand is a promise, think about the ads of Swiss. A brand can be associated with dreams, Channel? A brand can be associated with wealth. One does not purchase a Cartier watch to know the time. A brand can also be associated with a colour, the City blue and with a slogan, “Vorsprung durch Technik”. However, the issue of a brand is its essence, the hard work behind the screens. Think about the technology behind the screen of IKEA.
Better than brands are premium brands. Think about the “New Mini”. The car has grown in the mind of marketeers, realising that there might be a nostalgia for the Mini of the sixties. For a billion-dollar project the question was: “do we have about one hundred fifty thousand nostalgic potential customers?” At the time of the launching of the New Mini the profile was a person between fifty-five and sixty years old, willing to pay for a premium car, as a second or third car. The answer was positive. Since then the profile has changes and is now closer to thirty years old, responding to a need of differentiation, personalisation and a niche market. When entering a showroom of Mini, you will see a normal Mini but will be attracted by the differentiation and the augmented product. It is the augmented product, different wheels, different seats, different colours that are going to attract the attention and the willingness to pay a premium.
As you enter a lifelong learning journey think about the lesson of the augmented product, the premium brand. It is what you are going to add to your diploma, your additional skills, what we call the soft skills, and what I would call the core skills that are going to make a difference. You will no longer be different but better than competition. There are a lot of things you can do for yourself, such as speed reading, negotiation skills, selling skills, time management, listening better, avoiding multitasking, and so on.
My message is, improve on your premium brand, become a “lovemark”. This term was introduced by Saatchi and Saatchi and covers products where customers are no longer customers but disciples and the ambassadors of the brand.
Translated to you, it means work on your likeability. The “likeability factor” translated to us comprehends authenticity and empathy. Empathy is not natural, sympathy. Empathy requires this effort to put yourself in the shoes of the other person. It requires an effort, contributing to the perception of the persons around you.
Finally, let me wish you luck. I know that people think that you make your own luck but this is only partially true. In the highly competitive market place you need at time these serendipity moments where you are just in the right position at the right time and pieces fall nicely together. Your skills will contribute to this likelihood. Good luck to all of you and stay in touch.