Think about your business and the products or services you sell. Chances are your competitors offer something very similar. So why would the consumer choose you? The answer lies in your brand. And once you really understand it, brand awareness – and a fiercely loyal customer base – can grow faster than you’ve ever imagined.
Here’s a simple five-step plan to building a brand that stands out.
#1 Think Broadly
Your brand is an impression and the sum total of everything the consumer experiences when they interact with your company. It’s not just your logo, your products, your people, your website or your advertising – it’s all of these and more. Successful brands look at the big picture.
#2 Step Back
While it sounds silly, remind yourself why you got into business in the first place. Chances are you saw an opportunity to do something better. Was it to make a better product? Deliver something faster? Solve a specific problem? Now put this down in writing – it’s the beginning of a brand promise. To yourself and to your customers.
For example, one national pizza chain promises to have quality pizzas hot and ready when you order. And a men’s clothing chain guarantees you’re going to like how you look in their apparel. The brand promise doesn’t have to be complicated, just sincere.
#3 Be Honest
Many brands fail because they try to be what they’re not. In essence, they’ve made a brand promise that they can’t keep. If you run an auto repair shop and promise to use only factory original parts, you’ll come under fire if you use anything else. If you promise to deliver superior service but hire unreliable employees, consumers won’t believe you.
When considering your brand promise, one of the most effective ways to test its validity is to ask the opinions of employees or clients you trust. Their honest answers may be challenging to hear, but the insights will make your brand stronger.
Consider your top competitors. What are they promising? If you’re in the towing business and everyone is promising 24-hour service, consider what you can promise above and beyond this.
Perhaps it’s a discount at an auto repair shop you’re on good terms with. Or maybe it’s something as simple as having bottled water on board for parched motorists. The point here is that brands that differentiate will stand out, while those that don’t fade into the background with the look-a-likes.
If you’re not convinced, consider what Swedish meatballs did for the leading brand of unassembled furniture. Here is a case study with an in-depth look at the rise of the IKEA brand.
#5 Stick With It
Once you know your brand, don’t waiver. Your brand promise and differentiator should guide your culture and business decision-making.
If you’re the low-cost bicycle manufacturer for families, your buyers should be focusing on reasonably priced suppliers. Your marketing department should be advertising where cost-conscious families are likely to see you, and so forth.
After all, your brand is a promise. The more you keep it, the stronger it gets.