And then there’s the hat…

Today’s confession: For years I hated wearing hats. My first hat was purchased only to prevent sun stroke.

Then RB’s Gary Powers chastised me: “How can I introduce you as the man with the hat…if you’re not wearing your hat?!”

His words resonated as I realized the branding opportunity I was missing. Today, indoors or outdoors, daytime or night, the hat and I are rarely far apart.

The hat’s value as a marketing tool was driven home to me at a networking event. An unknown woman called me by name from across the room, then graciously reminded me “You spoke at a seminar I attended last year and I remembered your hat.”

The hat had branded me in her mind.

It’s easy to get lost in any crowd, and many people go to great lengths to avoid being forgotten. Coloring your hair purple, sporting facial tattoos, or wearing large green shoes all help one stand out.

Yet physical attributes are only part of the solution for being remembered. If you and your competition sell the same products and services, say the same things, and look exactly alike, there’s absolutely zero reason to choose either of you.

Which brings us back to why I wear my hat: it’s an easy peg for people to remember me by.

This explains why folks drive up from behind, see my hat, honk and wave at me. Like company branding, I’m repeating one carefully chosen visual until community members associate that image with my name.

Whatever your business, you can make yourself stand out a bit while sticking to your personal style. You may be comfortable always carrying an umbrella. Or chronically wearing red. Even sporting a large rubber nose would work.

But whatever you choose to do, you must commit to it long-term.

And please, please, PLEASE…don’t be like those companies that change business strategies every three months and only confuse customers. Select an image for yourself and then, like your company’s logo and tag line, brand it into the minds of customers, prospects, and the community at-large.

After all, if you’re merely saying “I’m better than the competition”, but not giving customers a simple way to remember you, they’re guaranteed to forget you both.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Learn about Mr. Marketing since giving up his rubber nose at