If you’re going to enter the race, why not set the pace and condition yourself for the distance?
All too often, people jump into marketing without any clear sense of their brand.
Instead of working smart by choosing the few things that align with their business to make it successful, they try everything and get burnt out without really achieving anything.
If you market without a brand you’ll just be spinning your wheels because you won’t know how to get your ultimate goal.
This can cost a lot of time and money.
- The Difference Between Branding & Marketing
- Uncertainty Around Making Business Decisions
- Struggling to Communicating With Your Audience
- Difficulty Getting Your Team On the Same Page
Marketing is not your message, Branding is your message.
Branding is the messaging and identity you put forward, while marketing simply is the catalyst or vehicle that gets your message out there.
Your marketing might get people to notice you, but branding is what keeps them there and converts them into a sale.
It doesn’t do any good if they discover you, but don’t like what they see.
People go to restaurants for the food, but stay for the atmosphere. Branding is the atmosphere.
What Defines a Brand?
Branding is more than a logo. Branding is all about reputation.
Brand goes beyond just a logo and involves things such as:
- Your company messaging
- How you interact with customers and clients
- How you interact with your team
- The perception of your company’s personality through tone
Basically, it’s your core identity.
A great way to think about it is to look at your brand as if it were a person.
If you took your brand to a party and someone asked you about it and its personality how would you describe it?
Would it be friendly and open or serious and professional?
Let’s compare Geico versus State Farm — while they sell the same thing their personalities are dramatically different.
Geico is the guy you’d have a beer with, State Farm is the friendly neighbor you’d trust to watch your kids.
Brand is how others perceive the business as an individual and how they see themselves aligning with what it wants to acheive.
Clients and customers see your brand from the outside in, but when you’re building a brand you actually need to start from the inside out.
So again, breaking it apart as a person you find that there are three components to a brand — core, character, and composition.
Core is all about what the business values, believes, and the mission it’s striving for.
Character is all about how it presents those values and beliefs through how it speaks, networks, markets, and interacts with others.
Composition is all about the visual identity that demonstrates the two inner components of core and character (logo, color, fonts, etc.).
Think about it: Who you are as a person informs how you dress and present yourself, how you act, and that’s how others see you and perceive you.
This is similar to how brands are built — when you get to that point of building brand assets such as a logo, color scheme, and all the other visual elements it should match the experience and reputation that trying to portray through your message.
Trying to attract anyone and everyone is a huge waste of time (and time is money).
Weeding through too many inquiries that aren’t going to be the right fit, sending your salesforce to the wrong people, or pouring marketing dollars into campaigns that aren’t reaching the right people is costing you a fortune and throwing valuable time away toward unproductive and unfruitful things.
There are a million and one decisions to make each and every day, so how do you know the right ones for your business?
Let’s take, for example, knowing how best to market to your audience.
New businesses don’t always know who their target audience is yet which makes marketing effectively nearly impossible. But even businesses that have been in business for decades can fall into the trap of chasing a trend or being swayed by whatever culture is doing.
This is a HUGE MISTAKE!
Instead, consider the values you hold as a company — what do the individuals within the company value and what do you want to stand for.
Contrary to popular belief opposites DO NOT attract; likes attract likes.
Birds of a feather flock together.
We tend to align and resonate with others who share our core values.
You’ll naturally attract the right people if you are speaking from a place of value. People that identify with your values will naturally be more likely to want to do business with you.
Identifying and expressing those core values does two things:
1. This helps you create cohesion within your brand and its operations because it gives you a metric to know if you’re bringing the right people into your team.
When you bring new team members in and they have a clear sense of the values of the company. They will clearly understand how they align with the values and mission of your company, as well as the role they play in achieving that mission.
This gives them a sense of purpose which creates loyalty.
2. When the values are expressed through your marketing it acts as a beacon to attract the right audience.
Your audience will better understand how they align with what you offer and this clear message will help them understand how you can serve them better than your competitors.
Unfortunately, too many companies approach this in the opposite way. They look at a trend or what is popular and think they need to jump on board with it.
Trends change and don’t always fit your overall goal. In fact, often they can hinder it.
And when trends change and culture shifts, then what?!
Values are the foundational pillars that give your brand power and strength to stand amidst the sifting winds and waves of an ever-changing culture.
Values are not the compass or even the needle on the compass, they are the magnetic force acting upon your moral compass directing you to the decisions that are best for you and your people.
This is because behaviors stem from beliefs.
If you know what you believe you’ll know how to behave and what decisions to make for your business.
But if you haven’t identified your values fear will become your value by default.
Since behaviors stem from beliefs, if allow fear to become your core value you will operate from a place of panic and uncertainty which will slowly erode your business and the people in it.
Know the bigger mission you serve and let that ground you and keep you moving even when times are tough.
Only then will you have the clarity to make the best decisions for your family, your community, your business, your team, or for your customers, and that’s what builds loyalty and trust.
How Do You Position Your Brand to Ensure It Attracts the Right People?
After you’ve defined your company’s core values identify your ideal client.
Ask yourself who would benefit most from what you offer.
Focus your message around your ideal customer and don’t be afraid to turn away those that won’t be the right fit.
When your business interacts with your audience you’ll find that every one of those interactions is like a new blind date — each with the opportunity to express the true purpose of the business relationship.
If you don’t know who you are (or what you value) you’ll try and change yourself and your message to suit every individual.
This creates multiple messages and makes you appear as if you have multiple personality disorder.
This turns your business into a people pleaser who tries so hard to please everyone yet pleases no one.
And worst of all, it makes you appear as if you don’t actually care — you appear to care more about gaining a sale than offering real value or solutions.
Authentic brands don’t sell solutions and relationships.
The difference between having a brand and a successful brand is reflected in the difference between wanting to get married and having a successful marriage.
If you’ve tried to pull the handle on a door only to realize it’s actually a push door then you know the frustration that comes from a confusing message.
So why do we do this to our potential customers?
Confusing messages get our potential customers stuck at the door.
When you market without a clear message you confuse people because you’re not sure who you are, what you believe, or what the true value you’re offering.
Consider again your brand as a person — if it went on a blind date with no clear sense of itself how do you imagine those dates would go?
We’ve all had that friend that didn’t have a clear sense of their identity, yet was desperate to find someone. They changed themselves and their “message” to fit every single new person they went on a date with.
Unfortunately, even when they were “successful”, they generally ended up in a bad relationship.
Businesses are very similar.
If you don’t know what you value and believe you’ll have no security in what you market and it won’t be clear what you offer.
Clarity in your message helps ensure people immediately understand what you do and how you can help them which signals how their own personal values will align and their goals will be met.
This leads to a better user experience.
How Can I Clarify My Brand Message?
Remember your customers don’t want to know what you do, they want to know how you can help them alleviate their pain points.
Because branding is your reputation and it’s relational it’s all about demonstrating that you understand your customer and empathize with their pain enough to create a solution that benefits them.
Therefore, focus on the customer — it’s not about you, it’s about what you can do for them.
This deeper communication demonstrates you want to offer a deeper level of care that goes beyond just a sales transaction.
Keep it simple!
Avoid listing off your products, services, or feature benefits.
Avoid company jargon — you may think it makes you sound smart, but your customer doesn’t need you to sound smart, solving their problem will prove you’re smart.
Instead identify with their problem, show how you’d solve it, and reveal how life will improve once they’ve chosen you.
Believe it or not, you can promote your business in one or two lines.
- First, identify the customer’s main pain point.
- Then, demonstrate your unique solution.
- Finally, show how life will improve once they been through your solution.
The key is to focus on the big picture.
Craft something you can memorize — this will help your team to have a cohesive way to communicate which keeps everyone on brand, forms a single brand identity, and ensures the brand reputation is based on the values you’ve created.
This also helps pique curiosity, clarifies your intentions, and opens others up to state how they feel about what you’re offering. This creates more opportunities to addresses any concerns that may be keeping them from jumping on board.
If you don’t this costs you because you’re less likely to close that sale.
When your team lacks direction tasks will require more iterations and revisions which will cost you more in the long run.
Spending the time upfront to designate the goals and vision based on the company’s values ensures it gets done right with fewer revisions because everyone on the team is on the same page.
Failure to do this is seen so often when it comes to design projects.
When the time isn’t taken upfront to identify the best way to express value you’ll find yourself trying just about anything to see what sticks.
Time and time again design teams get thrown projects without any clear direction and, to this day, we’ve yet to meet a designer who is clairvoyant.
We’ve actually experienced this first hand with a company that hired multiple design firms to design their website and create marketing videos. Even after spending a year and thousands of dollars, they didn’t use any of it.
What a waste!
Your brand is your reputation so consider how you want your audience to perceive you and what you offer.
Before you make any business decision always ask if it aligns with your values.
If it doesn’t then don’t do it because it will throw you off course from what will make you successful.
Don’t simply jump into a trend because you feel it will get attention, position your message from the clear, simple, powerful place of value so that you attract the right people.
Demonstrate to your team and your customers the bigger mission you serve and let that ground you and keep you moving even when times are tough.
When you brand yourself this way, you’ll gain the clarity to make the best decisions for your family, your community, your business, your team, or for your customers, and that’s what builds loyalty and trust.
Need help Discovering your Brand?
I’d Like to Hear from You
What’s one of your business’s biggest struggles? Or what was one key takeaway from today’s topic? Leave me comment below and let’s chat.