Perception is reality in branding, and in life for that matter.
Every entrepreneur wants to have their company’s brand “WELL KNOWN, TRUSTED & DESIRED” … but not all brands are worthy of that privilege.
What is branding? Well, let me start by clarifying what branding is not:
Branding is NOT marketing, and branding is NOT a logo either. A logo means absolutely NOTHING, unless of course, the company behind it does.
Successful branding is a combination of an authentic promise with a clear, aligned and consistent delivery. And these elements are crucial, because the promise and delivery are what build trust in your company and increase customer loyalty.
Here are five tips to help you move forward in building a successful brand:
Tip #1 Be Clear About Your Company’s Purpose
A purpose is the big WHY behind the WHAT you and your company are truly meant to be doing. This is what gets you — and your team — out of bed in the morning. Know and share that purpose and learn to “Stay On Purpose” with everyone you work with and everything you do. A brand is not a brand without a strong cause.
Tip #2 Define Your Ideal Client
Not all clients are ideal clients — far from it. Know who you truly want to work with and who you’re best suited to help. Know what companies inspire you and why. The “why” is important, because it’s usually closely linked to fulfilling your purpose and aligning with your core values. (Core values are what you stand for, your decision makers.)
Pro Tip: Make a list of all the companies you would LOVE to work with and simply ask all of your existing ideal clients for contacts or connections. You’ll be amazed as to how many of your existing clients are somehow connected with some of the companies on your wish list. Give it a try! At the least, you get the opportunity to stay connected with your clients.
Tip #3 Know What You’re Selling
It’s important to be very CLEAR (internally with your team and externally with your communication tools) on what you are selling. If you’re not clear, how can you expect your prospects to be? For example, What does Nike sell?
Before I answer this question, let me tell you what they don’t sell. They don’t sell sneakers, socks or sports apparel. Now, I can already hear you saying, “What? I’m wearing Nike sneakers right now!”
So … what does Nike sell?
Nike sells athleticism and victory.
If you watch any Nike commercial, you’ll find they don’t talk about how long the laces last or how they manufacture the soles of their shoes. They never mention the durability of the leather.
So what DO they do? They tap into the emotional connection with inner drive, our profound desire to push past our limits and achieve something great. What you’ll see in Nike commercials is a group of kids in the street playing ball with a stick for the love of the game, a basketball player hitting a three point shot on the buzzer to win the championship or the look of determination on the early morning runner’s face as she blazes through her town.
The tangible product or service we all sell is the catalyst that addresses the deeper emotional need.
Tip #4 Find Your Niche
Don’t try to be everything to all people. Be clear about what you are BEST AT SOLVING in this world and offer that to those who get it, need it and want it. The more you define and focus your brand on the one thing you do better than anyone else, the more clients will recognize you and respect you. And the outcome is a stronger brand.
Tip #5 Build Great Relationships
Margarita and I built our previous business’ reputation solely on great relationships and ideal referrals. I truly believe that if you take care of your clients, and understand and deliver on their needs, other great people and other great brands will want to be a part of that.
Building a successful brand is like building trust, it takes time and needs constant attention. All the little things add up, from how you answer the phone, to your post sale client care and everything in between. It’s a mixture of attracting new ideal business, hiring the best people and delivering on your promise day in and day out.
And that is the simple truth about branding!
Leap of the Week: Take a few minutes to think about what you are really selling, beyond your product or service. For example, a bookkeeper does not sell data entry, they sell peace of mind. Chiropractors do not sell adjustments, they sell health and fluidity. A bridal shop does not sell wedding dresses, it sells fairy tales. At LeapZone, we sell clarity, pivotal shifts and momentum.
What do you really sell? How is your product or service making life better?
This is a sponsored post by Isabelle Mercier Turcotte. The views expressed in this article are their own. To learn more about Isabelle, visit our Specialist Panel.
As co-founder of Build To Rock™ and LeapZone Strategies, Isabelle is a momentum generator – pure and simple. Her passion is to help entrepreneurs raise the bar and create massive value to build and deliver outstanding experiences. Her sole purpose as a brand builder and business performance catalyst is to empower change and growth.