Recap: What is a brand?
It is a unique brand, sign, symbol or combination of these used to create an image that identifies a product and/or service and differentiates it from its competition.
Quote of the Week:
In last weeks episode we said that we brand because it gives you a singular focus in advertising and marketing. It creates an objective or defines what you are trying to achieve in a business. If your goal was like Fedex, who guarantee overnight delivery, everything has to resonate from that lofty goal. Your whole business has to be able to produce the brand you have set out for. If it is exceptional quality like a Rolex watch, then there is a big difference between a Timex watch, a Citizen watch, and a Rolex watch. A brand sets an objective for your company. That is why you do it.
When should you start branding?
I believe you start branding before you ever open your company. It should be in your business plan. I’ve already talked about the static portion of the business plan in which you write down your goals, everything you want the company to be, and mission and value statements. Then there is the active business plan in which you make the static plan come to reality.
How are you going to execute this? You want to begin branding from day one. You have got to create this image or quality that you think would help your company be successful within the industry. In order to do this, you should answer this question in your business plan: If there was one thing that you could deliver to your customers that would make them choose you over your competition, what would it be?
That is what you want to brand. Maybe it is speed. Domino’s Pizza, years ago found that thirty minute delivery was a unique position to brand. Papa John’s didn’t’ take that route. They went with”Better ingredients, better pizza, Papa John’s.” Their brand promises that with better ingredients they will be able to deliver a better pizza pie. You should be branding from day one. It is in the DNA of your company.
How do you brand?
Ask this question: What is the one thing, that if we could deliver on, would bring customers out in droves to our product or service? Once you find that, then you need to look for wording, tagline, logo, or maybe it is just an image. You want something that effortlessly conveys what you are promising. You want to create an emotion such as “fun” or “easy” if you can.
When you are building this brand, you are trying to create an emotion. You want to create a promise that you can repeatedly deliver on. In other words, you don’t deliver quality one week but not the next. You don’t have low pricing for nine months out of the year but when there is a crunch financially you raise your prices. Your brand is something that you are repeatedly committed to delivering on.
10 Commandments of Branding
- You want your brand to be different. Find something unique. Don’t copy a major national brand in a small market. People will know that you are just a copycat.
- Make a bold promise. Make an audacious promise that if you could deliver on it, customers would come out in droves. Again, make sure that you can fulfill that promise, but be bold. Don’t use a benign word like stellar or integrity. That’s so generic. Find words that when customers hear them, they know they want that company. It could be one word or a sentence.
- Be committed to this brand identification. You are not branding this year and changing it the next year. You may change your advertising, because that is just a vehicle or the means, but you have to be committed to your brand. It has to be a five years or more commitment. It has to be a durable brand.
- It needs to be believable. Cheap and quality don’t exist together. If you are trying to building a brand and you market yourself as being the least expensive highest quality product, most people know that they don’t go together. If you are a brand new company, be careful what you are promising. If you were to say, “We are the most recognized at X.” How are you the most recognized? You are just opening up.
- Be deliverable. You better be able to deliver on this promise. “Perfection” “always” and “lowest” are very hard things to deliver on. Be careful what you brand and make sure that you can deliver on it.
- It needs to be repeatable. You can’t deliver on it this week and not deliver on it next week. Repeatable means you have set up a system that can produce these results.
- It needs to be measurable. Very few companies can get away with words like, “innovation” “integrity” and “trustworthy.” Be very careful that you create a brand that you can actually measure whether are not you are delivering on that brand.
- It needs to be teachable. Can you train your staff to deliver this? Can you put in in your manuals? Is this something that you can build up through your staff?
- Is it memorable? Is it a message that is simple to convey and easy for the customer to remember?
- Is it marketable? What advertising methods are you going to use to market this brand? How are you going to actually get customers to hear and understand your brand?