When was the last time you took time to consider your brand? If you’re thinking about your logo, you’d only be partially on track.
Your company brand isn’t simply what you appear (or want) to be, its what you do, and how your perceived. One of the easiest ways to understand this is to simply replace the work “brand” with an alternate word – “reputation”. Your company brand includes every touch point by every stakeholder that’s in contact with you, including your internal resources such as management, employees, vendors and most importantly – your customers and prospects. Crafting your brand’s communications at the beginning of your outreach will save you money, while substantially increasing your effectiveness – especially in comparison with your competition.
Poor brand development can results in many losses to your bottom line. Here are a few you might consider avoiding:
No Point of Differentiation
Contrast and compare your product or service with your competition. Besides obvious factors like price, what really makes you different? WHY should YOUR customer care? With a strong positioning statement and strategy, your customers will want to build a relationship with you that could last a lifetime. If price is the only factor that sets you apart, you’ll not gain a significant part of the existing, or future market potential.
Lack of Brand Image
You know how the logo on your card is different than the one on your sign or in your recent ad? Perhaps the font your using on your letterhead isn’t the same as what you use on your website? Or that shade of green that you like on your brochure just isn’t the same as your logo? This inconsistency within your brand will certainly create confusion. With the few precious seconds that you have to establish your brand in the mind and heart of your prospects, you can’t afford to cause any confusion that might cost you business.
Unreal Brand Values
If great customer service is one of your brand values, then leaving a customer on hold for more than a few brief moments isn’t consistent with your promise. And if your customers can’t trust your business promise, then how can they trust you enough to buy from you? Ignoring your brand’s core values will cost you loyal customers and new prospects – and you may not even know it’s a problem if you don’t look carefully at your brand.
Lack of focused offer
If you’re good at providing one singular product or service – then focus on that without trying to become “all things to all people”. Competition, especially in today’s challenging economy, is more aggressive than ever. If you’re an accountant, would you consider adding another line of work to your office and provide legal counsel? Of course not.
But too many brands fraction their efforts early in the process of determining their specific brand niche – and bring so much competition to their door, that they can’t survive the crush of competitive brand messages. Be the brand leader in your category – no matter how narrow that category may be.
In addition, it’s far more cost effective to market a specific product to a target audience than to shotgun a series of products or services to the general public. Get specific, and you’ll get results.
Poor Internal Communications
When employees can’t get real information from management – they make it up for themselves, and develop rumors that take more time to address than resolve. Rumors have “legs”, and can easily become a perceived reality in the marketplace – to your current customers and prospects as well. If your stability is in question, you’ll feel the money leaving your hands before it even gets to you.
Leverage Your Brand
Branding is critical for every business, and even for nearly every professional personally. Whether your launching a new business, or have been in business successfully for years – addressing your brand will provide you with the foundation for continued growth, or to gain the necessary market share that you’ll need to be successful. Build you brand as a competitive asset – as you would your legal and financial status and systems. As a core value that’s often overlooked, don’t be one of the many businesses who invest in every aspect of their operations – with exception to their most valuable asset – their brand.
What have you done to codify your brand? Do you have it written down in detail so that you can share it with your staff, customers and prospects?