By: Gordon Conner
If you want to build a company with a nice, friendly, compelling brand, you probably think that you’ll be pitched with terms like DNA, brand promise, manifesto and essence. You may even be exposed to strange concepts like a brand pyramid or ladder, or be swept away with all of the different aspects of brand architecture. Hey, folks, branding doesn’t have to be that way-it ain’t rocket science!
It really is simple. You just have to get people to like you. That’s all. Let’s face it; people do business with people they like. They don’t want to buy their new car from a shyster salesman. And they aren’t going to continue using a dry cleaner that consistency distroys their clothes. So, obviously, you need to start by doing your job. And doing it well. If you do it well enough, you may eventually have people talking about you, in a good way. And that could be the start of building a new brand. So, how do we build that fresh, new brand that will encourage folks to want to do business with you? Believe it or not, it all starts with four simple steps.
- Target market-Know your customers like the back of your hand and what they want from you.
- Your Dominant Value Point (Value Proposition) -What is the one benefit that your market is looking for that is different and better, and your competition can’t, or won’t, duplicate it.
- Tell your story-Prove your Dominant Value Point to your markets beyond a shadow of a doubt.
- Live your brand-Everything you do must reinforce your brand story-every touch point must leave the same massage.
So what’s a touch point? A touch point is any exposure that your customer has to your business. It can be the smiling face of your sales clerk. It’s the inventory that you carry that offers a better selection than anyone else. It’s the cinnamon aroma in your shop. It’s the tie worn by your delivery person. It may even be your hairstyle. (That Mohawk haircut just may not be cutting it with your customers.) These are all touch points and they all have to relay the same message about what kind of company you are. It’s all about consistency.
So that’s it. Get these touch points right, and take the four steps mentioned here. Before you know it, you can have the brand that you’ve always wanted.
The basics of building a great brand are really very simple. But the problem is, there is always something, or someone, standing in your way-including yourself. And these things just complicate the issue. And if you let them, these issues can take over, and the brand that you so dearly wanted could turn into a nightmare in a heartbeat. And your business will never grow that way.
So what are some of these anti-brand culprits that are standing in the way of your success? Here are the most common:
- The target market is everybody-You want your market to be everyone who has ever bought from you. Plus the people who you think should buy from you. Plus everyone that has a remote chance of buying in the next 10 years. When you have that many people, how are you going to please everyone? You can’t! Before you know it, your marketing is about as exciting as Billy’s lemonade sign.
- Your Dominant Value “Point” Becomes “Points”- So you think you need to share the complete laundry list of features and benefits in order to make you different. You’re convinced that every feature is critically important and your customers can’t wait to hear about each one. The fact is, buyers are swamped with too much info. They don’t want to hear about all of that. They’ll just ignore you.
- You’re a small business. Don’t try branding like the big boys. It won’t work- Everybody wants to be the next Apple. If you try that, guess what will happen-you’ll end up with a pile of over-engineered doo-doo. You come up with this elaborate plan to create brands, sub-brands, manifestos and ladders and you can’t do it all. So what do you do? You give up and go back to doing it the old way, before you came up with this whole “branding thing” idea.
You need to keep it simple! And it can be simple if you make the tough choices and follow the steps.
Don’t forget that famous quote, “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”
Building a great brand is all about keeping it simple. It ain’t rocket science. But, it takes lots of very hard, very smart work.
About the Author
Gordon Conner is a brand coach, copywriter, content writer and blogger who writes “Snappy Copy That Sells Stuff”. He has been providing Category of One advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached through email at Gordon@BranWorks.com.