The term brand elasticity refers to the degree to which your personal brand – or any brand – can “stretch.” In the commercial world, brand elasticity refers to the number of products and services that can reasonably be covered by one brand. For example, the Nike brand is very powerful in its core domain of sporting goods and may also be elastic enough to cover certain nutritional items such as sports drinks, whole grain bars, or supplements. Even with such a large span, an attempt to use the same Nike brand for cleaning products, however, will probably fall flat.
Similarly, you could also think of brand elasticity as the amount of resilience a brand can provide in the face of company-internal changes or disruptions to the competitive landscape. IBM (International Business Machines) is a great example of a resilient brand that successfully covered a huge transition from the company’s beginnings in the tabulating machine industry through the era of mainframes and PCs all the way to the technology and services giant it is today. To assess your personal brand’s resilience and to prepare for inevitable disruptions, I recommend developing a brand contingency matrix.
Your brand contingency matrix
The brand contingency matrix covers disruptions to your core brand and value proposition from both internal (voluntary) and external (involuntary) sources.
It also incorporates the degree of brand displacement you may experience – from relatively small modifications of your current position all the way to a complete reinvention of “Brand You.” To express these two concepts simultaneously, the contingency matrix is arranged along two axes. The vertical axis shows to what degree the change to your brand is voluntary (originates from within yourself). The horizontal axis visualizes the relative distance from your current core positioning you’ll have to cover to arrive at your new brand. Together, they can be combined to express everything from a small disruption (such as the need to learn a new computer program within your established field of HR management) all the way to a significant disruption that may involve a change to your core physical abilities or a total reconfiguration of the competitive field.
If you have a moment, take a stab at creating revised value propositions and positioning statements for each of the four quadrants. What would change if you were simply “trying a new thing?” What would be left of your brand and value proposition if you “jumped (or were thrown into) the deep end?”
For help with brand contingency planning or to schedule your personal branding discovery session, please check the Personal Branding Services page.