We are talking about branding and yes, I talk about it a lot because I believe it’s one of the 8 Pillars of a Successful Business. It is one of my unbreakable rules. Branding the one thing you better get right? My favorite branding quote of all time is by President Donald Trump.
If your business is not a brand, it is a commodity.
— President Donald Trump
So let’s get started on the one thing you better get right.
There are seven reasons why branding is so important.
Branding Provides Direction In All Your Marketing
Everybody gets marketing and advertising backward. Let me just give you a quick understanding of what marketing is.
Marketing is your strategy. Example: If I was going to battle, I would have a battle plan. That is marketing. Dropping bombs or bringing in a battleship; they’re the tactics. That’s advertising. Marketing is the overall strategy and if you’re going to do effective marketing, you need to have branding decided because it’s going to provide the direction for your marketing.
Once you know who and what your target customer wants you to be, you have a GPS destination. All of your marketing is going to lead to that destination. I use many tactics within my marketing, I use public relations, I use charitable giving and participation, I use advertising, and I use reputation building. You’re not going to just have a random approach to how you market to customers. You’re going to have a GPS.
Branding Provides Your Mission as Well as Your Vision for Your Company.
Everybody wants to have a mission statement and a vision statement of what you want to achieve. Guess what? Figure out what your brand is, and you’ll know what your mission and your vision statement are because I believe both of those need to have relevance to the brand you’re trying to build.
Remember a brand is your identity. It is your reputation and it is what separates you from your competition. It is so people can identify your company next to your competition.
It is a perception and a reputation in the minds of your customers. You know the difference between a Kia and a Mercedes by reputation. Forget physical. If you never saw the two and you just heard the marketing on the radio between the two, they’re drastically different. One is going to be price-centric, and they’re going to advertise low monthly payments and then you’re going to have the other which is going to be touting quality.
Branding Is Your most Effective Salesforce
I tell my business partners that I want the sale to have been made before they ever pitch our services to potential customers.
What do I mean by that?
Assuming if they contacted us, then they have been exposed to our marketing and/or our reputation within the industry.
If I’ve effectively done marketing right, and I’ve created the image of reputation and identity that I believe I have, they already want to do business with us. The only question is going to be, is whether they can afford us.
If somebody reaches out to one of my companies, if I’ve branded us correctly, the sale has already been made. We’ve established a reputation that sells 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s established credibility that you don’t have to establish when you’re trying to make the sale.
If you’ve done effective branding within your marketing you’ve overcome their skepticism and their concerns already. You have early differentiated your company’s products and services from your competition. When you buy a Coca-Cola you know it’s different than a Pepsi.
Branding Sets the Cultural Standard
The founder of Zappos made this so clear. They are service-centric. If you build your brand around some key qualities that your target customer wants, it’ll have to be your culture. Let’s say your brand is “exceptional service”. Your culture has got to parallel that. If your employees don’t view it as important, it’s never going to reflect their culture and it’s never going to be the cultural standard.
I have to think people that work for Mercedes when they’re building a car, they may take a little extra time when they do things. Why? Because there’s excellence within the standard of the brand.
It Will Creates the Blueprint for Staffing Your Team
If you have a company that has extraordinary service, it’s because you’ve recruited an exceptional staff that can provide that. If you want to deliver on the promise that you have within your brand, you must build a staff with people that are good enough to do it. When I staff my companies, I’m staffing the culture of our company. Within one of our companies, I don’t hire anybody with less than 10 years of experience.
Why? Because my brand has a reputation and an expectation in the minds of my customers and my soon-to-be customers; that an inexperienced person could never meet their expectations. Within my servicing of my company I could use voicemail, but it would violate my brand. So when you call one of my companies, you will speak with a live person who is knowledgeable.
Branding Provides Guardrails
It keeps me from hiring less talented people. I get to hire people that are five years of experience because they’re less expensive. But because of my brand, it provides a guardrail.
I get tempted to use voicemail. It’d save a lot of money, but because of my brand, I have a guard rail there.
Coca-Cola, if you remember. They tried New Coke, but the taste was violated their brand, and even though they spent a ton of money to roll this out they quickly pulled it back. They had a guardrail for their reputation that took one-hundred years to establish.
Have you ever seen Disney movie that was highly vulgar? Nope.
UFC, which has a partnership with Disney, very much wanted to have an event. Disney nixed it because it didn’t fall within their guardrails of family. That guardrail was so so cemented in Disney’s culture and its values that in their partnership with UFC It overrides UFC’s guardrails.
Your Branding Will Become Your Most Valuable Asset
Coca-Cola is worth $80B. How much do you think that logo is worth? How much you think they actually have in physical assets? I guarantee you it’s not more than 25% of that evaluation.
Starbucks has been charging more for coffee than anybody for nearly two decades but now their brand is so identifiable that when you go to a store, you buy their coffee. Now, they can use it in retail. They can sell their coffee without it having to be at one of their retail restaurant-style locations. That’s effective. It can be ordered online and sold at any time.
Warren Buffet is known as the greatest investor of all time, but his investment in recognizable brands is one of his secrets. He valued brands when he would buy a company and he noticed in the ’60s that companies didn’t put a dollar figure on recognition and reputation. He bought into American Express. They had such a reputation he invested in them, but he didn’t believe that there was money there in the valuation. It didn’t correlate with the recognizably of American Express, so he made a major investment in that. Geico, Coke, Dairy Queen, Duracell, Net Jets, Benjamin Moore. Each one of these investments he has made is very recognizable.
Branding is one of the 8 Pillars of a Successful Company, and it’s the one thing you better get right. Why?
Because it provides direction for all your marketing. It should provide and help you with your mission statement and your vision statement. It should help you fulfill your mission and your vision. It is by far our most effective sales force, it sets the cultural standard, it will create the blueprint for your staffing, it will provide guard rails, and properly done it will become your most valuable asset!