Lessons I Learned From A Ground Hog

The lowly groundhog, often called a woodchuck, is the only mammal to have a day named in his honor. The groundhog’s day is February 2. Granted, it’s not a federal holiday and nobody gets off work. However, we all know about it and most of us check the news to see if the groundhog has seen his shadow. Consider how many of you recognize the name Punxsutawney Phil. Amazing, isn’t it. That’s brand recognition at its finest — it’s not even for a human.

Regardless of whether Punxsutawney Phil goes back into his burrow for six more weeks of winter, he gets his day in the limelight. So how can such an innocuous creature as a groundhog become famous? It is in the publicity, of course.

The right publicity can elevate even the simplest activity. In fact, the best publicity is actually very simple, clean, uncluttered and straightforward. Think about the messages that captures your attention or inspires you to do something (whether it is to buy a product, make a phone call, do some research or simply make a note about it for future reference).

The publicity made you think. That is what branding is all about. It creates awareness. Personal branding doesn’t need to be complicated. It needs to cut the clutter and get to your core message. What do you want people to remember when they think about you?

Last week when I wrote Bubble Wrap Branding, I got an incredible response from one reader about how my articles inspired. I’m sharing a portion of it with you as an example of how creating a brand can resonate with your audience (in my case, helping people improve their persona).

“I am so wowed by every newsletter from you! You always inspire me with your excellent content and message! When I get your newsletter, no matter how bad a day I’m in the middle of, it’s always a bright spot to read your message. I have been meaning to let you know that for a while, and always seem to let my busy day keep me from doing it, so today, right now, I am stopping to send you a reply and say thanks for your wonderful newsletter.”

Now, turn this concept internally. Wouldn’t you like to have someone respond to your efforts like this? Not only did it make me feel good, it reinforced the fact that I practice what I preach. My personal brand captures my audience’s attention and appreciation. Your brand can do the same with a little effort.

It takes time to position yourself as an expert in what you do. Your positioning statement will change as you evolve. Start by deciding how you want to be identified or recognized by your constituency. Write it down. Work and rework your core message until if feels right. Then, bounce it off a few people whose opinions you value and see how it sits with them.

Branding is always a work in progress so do not be afraid to change your core message if it’s not capturing your audience. The important thing is to get started now. So don’t be like Punxsutawney Phil and run back into your hole for six more weeks. The sooner you get started the sooner people can find out about you and what you have to offer.