Are you looking for funding or do you know someone who needs funding? When approaching an investor, one of the first things they want to know, what makes your business great? The point with brand development, what makes you great? And, it is another way of expressing your market position. The clearer you are on what makes your business great, the stronger your brand. A great brand puts your business in a better position in the eyes of potential investors.
Brand Development is a Long-Term Effort
Look at your brand development in terms of planting a great garden. When you first put seeds into the ground, all you see is dirt; so also with brand development. Consistency of effort brings positive results. And, economic downturn should not be a deterrent either. Look at the early 80’s tough economic soil. Some of the most prolific brands sprouted: Walmart, Starbucks, and Apple.
Yes, there is a downturn, but, use this time to sharpen your plow. In the process sow seeds of opportunity so that when the economy turns around you have the same kind of a business that made Walmart, Starbucks, and Apple today’s business giants. In the early 80’s tough economic climate they saw an opportunity when everyone else saw recession. In the process, they planted seeds into the bare ground just like many of you are doing and developed a great business. Keep plowing.
Your Product is Not Your Company Brand
Your brand is more than your product and service. Your brand should propel your business into the marketplace. Mary Kay for instance connected her make-up to women who for whatever reason went to work. Think about the pay scale for most women forty years ago. It was usually not that great. She may sell lipstick but her brand is all around creating beautiful futures for women.
The Mary Kay experience is about encouraging women to build a great business that would take them into a lifestyle they thought would never be theirs. Next time you see a pink Cadillac take a look at how you can create a great brand strategy that connects your products and services directly to your client’s need. So, what are you selling? Your brand is more than your product and service.
Brand is Truth
Did you know brand development is about creating truth? When you discover what it is that makes you and your business great, you are uncovering the truth. Many people either discount what they do best and/or do not recognize it at all. The reason, they do what they do so well; they think everyone does that same thing with the same proficiency. Not true. We all have a blindside. That is why brand development is so powerful.
You discover what makes you and your business great, communicate that in terms your customer will hear and they get it. And in today’s authenticity-seeking marketplace, truth is communicated well about who you are keeping business rolling in your front door.
Brand as Strategy
Most things we do in business have an element of strategy such as keeping the door open until 9 to attract the after-hours crowd. Another might be hiring extra staff to offset heavy workloads.
But, at the helm of those strategies should be your brand. Your brand is who you are in the market. And, that place is where you shine.
For example, Mary Kay Cosmetics came out with a line of make-up about 35 years ago. She saw a need; women needed a way to make money while raising children. So, she developed a business model around helping women create beautiful futures. Using direct sales, those who excelled she put them in a pink Cadillac.
Her product may have been make-up but her brand was creating beautiful futures for women. Everything done in Mary Kay Cosmetics centers on helping women create beautiful futures.
Connect your strategy directly to your brand and you also will create a beautifully focused future.
A Logo is Not the Brand
Just because you have a logo does not mean you have just branded your company. Your logo is a description of your company brand, not the brand. Your brand is about the experience your customers receive when using your product or service. With that experience is a brand promise. The logo is a visual that describes that experience. All messaging should point to brand experience for a clear, focused message. But, more about that tomorrow.
Employees Who See Value is More Likely to Spread Your Brand
A good way to spread your brand is to start with your employees. You do that with deep-rooted values they buy into. Create great value for your employees and they will help spread your brand. And, in the process, you are creating consistency in your brand messaging throughout your entire organization.
Brand Development is a Spiritual Issue
Brand development is a spiritual issue. As God-created beings, talent is a God-instilled aspect of the human experience that makes each unique. Products and services are replicable and therefore can easily become commodities. But, talent can never become a commodity. And, often it is the talent that sets a company apart in the marketplace. Your biggest asset is the people on your staff. Treasure them. They create real value for your customers.
Your Brand Defines You
Brand development defines who you are in the marketplace. If you do not get it right, you could spend a ton of money correcting mistakes such as web presence, collateral material, ineffective advertising, marketing campaigns going to the wrong market, and the list could go on. Take the time upfront to put together a great brand plan. Your investment is worth the effort.
Create a WOW Brand
When was the last time you had someone provide such exemplary service that you said ‘wow?’ Wouldn’t you like your customers to say that about you? Start by finding out what keeps your customer up at night, their pain. Then use what you do best in your business to meet that need. You are on your way to creating a wow experience.
Sounds simple, but, when was the last time you checked in with your customers? Make a habit of checking in at a minimum of once per quarter to see how they are doing. In the process, you are creating a consistent wow experience.