As an entrepreneur you probably already know how important your brand is. Your brand really lets people know who you are and what you are about. In fact, it really comes down to how they identify with your business or product. So just how do you go about defining your own brand so that people have an image when they think of your business? When you follow my five-step process, it is actually easier thank you think!
When you think about popular brands, say Starbucks or Nike, for example, you probably recognize the brand. You also have images and thoughts come to mind that help you recall what they are about. While you don’t pay much attention to the fact, you didn’t always know about those brands and have those images. It was only through the consistent efforts of those companies that they built the brand awareness. And you can, and should, do the same!
Here is my simple 5-step process to defining your brand:
1. Know your values. You have to know your values and where you stand, then build the brand around those values and never, I mean never, compromise them. Some business values include accuracy, quality, reliability, and timeliness. Determine which ones are important to you and that your customers will find important and then make them part of your brand.
2. Find a baby niche. The smaller the niche market, the easier to identify with the consumer and build loyalty among the group. Plus, when you focus on a niche area, you become an expert in that area, which helps in building your brand.
3. Save the best word for last. Do not, I repeat, do not use terms that are already used in your industry in advertisements or brand merchandise. Use terms from other industries or words that your competitors would never use. Make sure that the language that you use, however, sends out a message that is consistent with the brand you want to define.
4. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Consistency is the key to any effective brand. Show your customers over and over that you will provide the same result and deliver, based on your product and values. If you think about some of the companies for which you know the brand, you will realize that their message and service is always being repeated. There is very little that every changes, which brings customers comfort.
5. Value Added = Differentiation. Instead of trying to make you look better than the competitors, focus on adding extra value to your product or service. Where is the pain? What could make this extraordinary? This way, you let the brand speak for itself. Determine what you can offer that is beyond what your competitor is doing. Set yourself apart.
Take a moment to think about what your brand is. Okay, now do you know what yours is? Here’s the dealio, if you don’t know your brand, then your potential customers don’t either. And that’s not a good thing. You want them to have a brand awareness about your company or product. So rather than them come up with their own identification, based on what they have heard through word of mouth, help them to identify who you are, which is what you will do by defining your brand.
When should you get started with defining your brand? Now. There is no better time than the present to define your brand and start sharing it with others. Before you know it, everyone, including yourself, will always have a clear image of what your company is about. As Howard Schultz, of Starbucks, has been quoted as saying “Customers must recognize that you stand for something.”