An artery is a type of blood vessel that is extremely important in sustaining life.
Artery in the Tanjong Pagar neighborhood of Singapore, however, is a bar. A bar that I visited last week for a networking event commemorating the partnership between AIESEC and Blue Wisdom, a company that brands customer experiences.
Near an MRT stop, Artery is located in the Red Dot Traffic building, a former police station that was converted into a slick and stylish abode for a variety of restaurants, a design museum, lifestyle centers, and more.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the event when I arrived, but at the entrance to the bar was a large AIESEC tarpaulin declaring I was in the correct place, so I registered (receiving an extended happy hour bracelet–red of course) and entered the venue.
Before the program, I sat among some friends I had met previously and chatted with some new people. When a speaker appeared with the mike, I was initially startled out of my conversation and mildly disappointed to be cut short. But the feeling was short-lived, because 90 seconds into the man’s talk, I was captivated.
Arjun Khara, our speaker for the night, is the communications strategist for Blue Wisdom, and his talk flowed from one topic to another with the same appealing smoothness as the white wine that I had been savoring. Of the many insightful things he said after introducing himself and his company, I was able to capture some Branding Lessons from my night.
1. Branding is in the people
You can draw up the prettiest graphic and post it all over the city. You can have a fat brand book on your company shelf, stating exactly what the image of the company is. But these things have no substance if the people you’re supposed to be dealing with are indifferent or unhappy with what you are doing. A brand is nothing but our perception of things–as employees, as consumers, as individuals wanting to receive value. As long as the people themselves perceive the value of what you are offering to be higher than the price, you can charge whatever you wish. Branding is in the people, not the company–and you must cultivate this perception of value in them.
What you think you are projecting is nothing unless people believe it.
2. Mass communication has moved to mass customization
Communication no longer flows one way; rather, with the popularization of social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, brands must scramble to remain significant in a totally different manner: by speaking to the individual instead of the horde.
If you aren’t willing to bend a little, people will simply choose someone else. Because of this, people expect engagement.
3. You build your brand in 90 seconds
People want to hear your story, but if you don’t go to the meat of the matter within 90 seconds, you’ll likely lose their interest. First impressions are important, and if you can’t lure people in within a minute and a half, you’ve lost a great advantage.
Start off strong, then explain to people your motivations. People love to be entertained, but we’re all human: social beings–we want to understand not only what other people are doing, but why.
I ended the night by eating a meal in a hawker’s market with some of my friends, but my true meal of the night was some food for thought.
As a person just newly immersed into the business side of social media–have I been communicating properly, not only in my job, but in my personal life? This is a question I’ll have to ask myself as I continue to learn and evolve.
‘Tis a life-sustaining thought.