I’m not a big fan of Halloween.
You’ll never catch me at a haunted house (at least not willingly), I prefer suspense movies to horror, and would rather decorate with pumpkins and Fall leaves than scary, jump-out-at-you-from-behind-the-bushes contraptions.
In fact, the only real fun I have is when I get to choose a costume because doing so gives me a chance to showcase part of myself that you may have missed.
Take, for instance, Halloween 1978. I was a very shy kid. No, really. Like hiding-behind-my-Mom’s-leg-when-company-came-over shy. Yet lurking beneath that façade of shyness was a determined little person bursting with ideas and something to say. This was in stark contrast to my older sis, who, as a first-born and all-around superstar, preferred to use the opportunity of having a new audience in the house to demonstrate her latest gymnastic moves, commanding the attention of every room she entered (and still does, by the way).
At the time, we enjoyed watching a show called “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl,” which chronicled the tales of two female crime fighters.
In other words, major badasses.
So when it came time to choose our Halloween costumes that year, guess which crime-fighting duo jumped to the top of the list? This was obviously super appealing to my first-born sister, but surprisingly, it was to me as well. Because despite my shyness, inside I felt like I could conquer the world. I just needed a way to showcase that feeling better.
The fact that I could parade around in my yellow leotard and foil-wrapped belt as Dyna Girl was huge. I was tough. Strong. Unstoppable.
Being Dyna Girl sent a message to the world about who I was and what I was about. And more importantly, my inside now matched my outside. Call it the Dyna Girl Effect.
This got me thinking about all the “masks” that we wear, and what they’re telling others about us (or what we’re hoping they say).
Ask yourself if what you’re putting out to the world best reflects who you are and who you aspire to be?
This doesn’t just apply to individuals.
Consider your company’s core values and competencies versus its marketing and messaging: is the “face” of your business in line with its “body?”
Recently I had a client that wanted to redo their website. As a membership-based non-profit, they saw their website as their primary marketing tool and felt like it just wasn’t working as hard for them as it should.
I conducted a series of focus groups in hopes of gathering feedback from their members about the site’s functionality and look and feel. As I listened to their stakeholders talk, it became increasingly clear that while they loved the organization and held it in high regard, they believed the site didn’t really “match” the mission of the association. Worse, they frequently found themselves in the position of having to justify and defend to their bosses why they should be paying the organization’s membership dues.
In my client’s case, the disconnect had to do with their mission of advocacy taking the back burner on their site. Instead of highlighting all the great work that they do in this arena, and using it as a point of difference to show their value and relevancy, the website featured their events and networking. Sure, you could probably find a little about their advocacy efforts, but you had to dig for it. Deeply.
My recommendation was to flip their messaging hierarchy to promote and celebrate more of their advocacy efforts. Highlight their point of difference and align with their mission. Make it easy for their members to see their value and relevancy immediately, so they could better justify back to corporate why they not only should be a member but why they absolutely needed to be a member.
Which brings me back to the idea of the Dyna Girl Effect, and how important and powerful it can be to align your internal works with your external messaging, having cohesion and consistency across your brand.
After all, a brand is a promise. To your customers. Your clients. Your members.
And being true to yourself — to your brand — is one promise you’ll want to keep.
©Amy Blaschka, 2016. All rights reserved.
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Amy (that’s me on the left as Flo from Progressive with my husband Todd as Allstate’s Mayhem) is the president of rbp consulting, a consultancy specializing in helping transform organizations in transition. She loves channeling her inner Dyna Girl (and sometimes, Flo) to help her clients keep their brand promises. Wanna chat? Reach out to Amy here.
Originally published at medium.com