The other week it was my daughter’s first Sports Day. Remembering how much I hated my own Sports Days when I was at school I have to admit I selfishly prayed for rain so it would be cancelled. I envisaged sitting on the edge of a field being bored to death trying to spot my small person running around from a distance while the sun turned my nose a funny shade of red.

I’m pleased to report that it was actually a lovely day. Not red hot, but warm and quite pleasant, and that Sports Day is a lot more fun to watch when you’re not taking part. Also at this school the parents don’t sit down on the edge of the All Weather Pitch (which was sandy and gravelly and dusty) but we walk around the route on the school playing field following our child so we can be with them the whole time. We watched our kids run and do relays and throw quoits into (or in our case completely out of) hoops, hop on space hoppers, do an egg and spoon race and collect beanbags. They weren’t taking it too seriously, in fact my daughter was rejoicing even when she really wasn’t doing that well. I guess it was really a case of “it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts”. It was fun.

As you might have read in a previous post, I like to say that branding is the emotions, experiences, perceptions and memories that people have of your business even if you’re not around. This is a perfect example of that.

Sports Day to me was the emotions, experiences, perceptions and memories of the Sports Days that I’d had when I was at school which I had not looked forward to or enjoyed. I remember doing some sort of procession with dusty flags, not feeling at all sporty, not looking forward to doing any of the activities, it’s the only time I can recall that I ever got sunburnt, I didn’t enjoy sports day at all. I wasn’t a PE sort of person (can you tell?!)

It didn’t occur to me that I might enjoy it.

It’s not my daughters schools fault that I had such a negative attitude towards Sports Day. I reached that all by myself – but now I know that it’ll be different I’ll look forward to next years.

Sometimes our emotions experiences, perceptions and memories can get in the way. As a business, we need to be aware that whilst our own business might be amazing, experiences people have had elsewhere – maybe with similar businesses – can cloud their impression of our business through no fault of our own. If we work on our values and do our best to convey them really clearly then we should be able to create the right impression. To show them that working with us is actually going to be OK. To indicate how professional or trustworthy or caring we are.

It might even be fun.

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