Who are you? A Tiger or a Housecat?

Who are you? A Tiger or a Housecat?

Simple steps to communicate your brand to the world.

A friend shared this picture of a cat online, painting himself as a tiger. The painting is called “Norman Catwell” by Lucia Heffernan. Cute, yes. True about cats knowing they are way above their station in life? Absolutely. The perfect picture of how your brand works? Definitely.

Simply put, your brand is how the world sees you. How is it possible for you to change, or even just enhance, your brand’s identity as a small business owner? Here are 3 simple ways to have a huge impact:


The first project for every new client is to define your brand. The first lesson in every marketing class I teach? Define your brand. Who the heck are you? An easy way to do this is with a rapid-fire brainstorming session with as many team members as possible, widening the perspective. During this session, which is most effective with an outside facilitator to guide the conversation, I ask the team 4 questions:

  1. Why should customers choose your business and not the other 1,234 competitors in your local, state, national, and even international market? What makes you unique?
  2. What does your business stand for?
  3. What does your business stand against?
  4. Who is your Perfect Client?


I’m always shocked, and I shouldn’t be, at how many business owners don’t read their reviews on all platforms. Read through Google, Yelp, Facebook, and even Amazon to see what people are saying about your product or service. Your brand should ultimately be what you want everyone to be saying about you – employees, customers, community, future customers, and more. Chances are, there are some common keywords that are coming through in the reviews. Are these keywords the ones that you want them to think about? Are they talking about one service that you offer and not the one that you want them to? Do you want to be known for a high-end experience, but all everyone talks about is the low prices? Pick a couple of keywords or phrases that you want to improve/change. Track the number of times used in a week or month, and use this as a starting point for your rebrand.


In a lot of sales circles, salespeople are encouraged to go to networking events like Chamber meetings and BNI meetings with what they call their “elevator pitch”. (Pretty please don’t let this be the only thing you say when you network though)

Legend has it that it was elevator pioneer Elisha Otis himself who gave the first true “elevator pitch.” It was 1853, and while many buildings were already equipped with elevators at the time, they were considered dangerous, and only as stable as their weakest rope. Otis had a vision for a newer, safer way. But rather than try to sell his invention with complicated engineering-speak, he decided to demonstrate his ingenuity. At a convention center, in front of a crowd of dozens, Otis set up a display of an open elevator shaft, hoisted himself three stories up, and cut his supporting rope with an axe. At first, the crowd gasped, but then breathed a sigh of relief. Otis’s stopping mechanism brought his elevator to a safe halt before hitting the ground. In less than thirty seconds Elisha Otis showed the world the value of what he was selling. Source: CNBC

For your business’s marketing, you too need an elevator pitch. This one-sentence statement should be able to be repeated by every member of your organization. Every person should be able to communicate who you are (your brand), the “who” that you want to be, in one breath. This statement should resonate throughout your website. It should resonate throughout your social media. It should be the lens through which everything in your world is seen. Crafting this one-liner is tough. It should have a consistent voice, be able to be understood by a 5th grader, and have buy-in from your team. Take your time to make sure it’s right. Run it by friends and family. And run it by friends or family that you count as your ideal customer.  

Your brand is way more complicated than a pretty logo, a stunning color palette, or a flashy website (those are important too). Your brand is you. The way you see yourself, and the way you need the world to see you.

The more you say out loud that you’re a tiger, the less your audience is going to see you as a housecat.