If you want to understand branding, consider my online dating life

Hi, it’s me again. If you’re single, you’re absolutely going to get this. You’re a brand. I’m a brand. Everybody’s a brand. Just look at online dating. (Yes, it sucks, but it’s a necessary evil.)

Dating platforms are brands too. The one you choose can determine your success or failure. On one hand are the lower-cost sites. They slam you with a hundred photos a day, with no personal details, as if all you need is a picture to relate to someone. These sites are popular with people who tend to be less attractive, less educated and less affluent. The truth hurts.

On the other hand, are the religious sites. If religion is important to you, these are great because their focus on shared faith starts you farther down the sales funnel than the other sites do.

In between, are the two grand-daddies of online dating. One requires a laborious questionnaire to create your profile. Too bad. What guys have the patience for it? People on this site tend not to be players and are looking for serious, long-term relationships.

The other big site is the one I belong to. Profiles there include a lot of important personal data – including politics, religion, income (most guys lie), age (all girls lie), last books read and a range of personal likes and dislikes. Everybody creates a profile page that is essentially a landing page with a main photo, a headline and a few key points, followed by an essay about how great you are and why someone should want to date you. You can also attach secondary shots.

To an extent all online dating sites offer the same thing: a vast array of personal brands (i.e., profiles) all competing to attract attention and cause a potential date to send you a wink or make you a favorite. You move down the sales funnel by getting someone to send you a message. An actual date is a sale.

Based on my experience, few people in the dating world have a clue about branding. A lot of girls start their profiles with a grocery list of their must-haves. No mere mortal could ever measure up. And how many gazillions of them describe their ideal date as a walk on a beach at sunset? Ugh. Skip. How many great girls have I missed because their brand was such a turn off?

The point is that online dating is a pure form of branding and marketing. You get one shot to establish your brand. Guys bail if you don’t grab them immediately. Just like a product website, TV spot or print ad. If you do catch someone’s attention, you have to move them quickly through the funnel to a sale – er, date – before they ghost you.

Luckily, some smart entrepreneurs have built comfortable businesses helping would-be daters turn themselves into desirable brands by first clearly defining their ideal date – in marketing, we call this your ICP (ideal customer profile) – and then creating content that addresses their ICP’s wants and needs.

It all comes down to knowing your ICP and packaging yourself to quickly stand out and show how you can meet his or her needs better than anyone else. That’s branding, baby.

And that’s what we do at the friendly little branding and marketing shop where I work. A lot of our B2B clients first come to us confused because their product isn’t making the waves it should. It doesn’t take us long to discover they haven’t clearly defined their ICP beyond industry and job title. How can you attract anyone if you don’t show how you’re the one they’re looking for? Defining your ICP is part of what we call getting BizSynced®, which includes developing the messaging, strategy and tactics for attracting and keeping your ICP.

We’re FLETCH Creative, just FLETCH to our friends. You’ll find us in a little suburban Atlanta industrial park, but we build brands all over the world. But as I’ve told you before, I’m just a lowly junior account executive. Rather than take my word for it, please visit our website or click to get your latest copy of FLETCH Tips.

Cheers!

Buzz

I’m a junior account executive with an MBA from a school you may have actually heard of. I plan to continue sharing my views on what works and what doesn’t in the world of branding and marketing as long as I have even one reader. I welcome all comments. If you have a particular topic you’d like me to expound on, email me at BuzzTalksBiz@gmail.com.

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