You run into a friend and ask how things are going. You talk with them about life, family and business. Things are good, but you tell them business is just ok.
“It’s been slow”, you say. ” Its the summer. College students aren’t around right now. People are on vacation. This is pretty typical.”
You look fine on the outside but on the inside, you are going over the previous years and realizing that business has been declining for years. When you think about why you will list a numerous amount of reasons that are out of your control. The one thing you will not think about is the one thing that is completely in your control, your brand.
Let’s get something straight. In a world where the internet exists, every single service or product you can provide is commoditized. You can get it all online, without leaving your home, for a lower price. This is not a secret. That being said, it doesn’t mean that people won’t come to you, but you won’t get them there with a half-hearted sale. You will have to work a bit harder than that. You will have to have a (say it with me) BRAND.
“But I have a brand”, you say, “here is my logo.”
Brand is more than a logo. Brand is what people think of you, the experience they have with you, the way you take care of them. Here are elements to think about when it comes to your brand.
What is your brand promise?
What is it that your potential customers believe you will do for them. What do they believe you will do for your community. What is it that you promise to do for every single customer you speak with? Your brand promise is an extension of your company values and what you stand for. Make sure this is clear.
What is your brand perception?
How does the public perceive you? Do they believe you will do good every chance you have or do they think of you like the used car salesperson of your industry? Do they perceive you as a thought leader or a follower, an innovator or old school? What are you doing to influence that perception?
What is your brand expectation?
You expect customers to hand over their hard-earned money, but what do they expect from you in return. Do they expect a low-end budget or high-end luxury service? For example, if you are known as the premier service in your industry, charging 20% more for what you do than anyone else, it would confuse your audience to suddenly offer a budget version of what you do.
Personify your brand.
Rather than thinking about WHAT your brand is, think about WHO your brand is. Would you want to hang out with your brand at a party, go on vacation with them, or are they that person you are polite to when face-to-face, but avoid and social activities with at all cost. Make sure your brand is the person you would want to spend time with.
What are your brand elements?
I said brand is MORE than a logo, not that a logo doesn’t matter. Beyond your logo, choosing the right colors is just as important in evoking the right emotions. Once those elements are determined, you MUST make sure they are consistent across all platforms with all audiences, otherwise, there will be a brand disconnect with your customers.
The 5 elements of a brand above were derived from the book “Brands & Bulls**t“
Sales vs. Branding
If you ask any small business owner, they will say that sales are the lifeblood of their business. Without sales, they wouldn’t exist. I challenge you to reconsider this though and think about this:
Without the heart, the blood doesn’t keep anything alive for very long. When everything we buy is commoditized by the internet, the only thing you have is your brand. You need to give people a reason to come to you rather than go to their phone.
I’m curious what your thoughts are on this topic. Drop a comment below and let’s discuss.
Zach is the CEO of Pixel Labs, Father of three little ones, and Husband to Samantha.