A Brand is about meaning.
For an entrepreneur or small business owner, the most important part of your brand is you. Your brand shines when it is aligned with what you want to give and what you want to be known for – and what that is resonates with people and makes them hungry for what you have.
People don’t buy products they buy meanings. Your brand has to have meaning in your public’s mind.
It is this meaning that acts like a magnet to attract your clients or customers. What your brand means to them is what makes them pick you from all the other options they have!
The art of “Positioning” is managing what is in peoples’ minds when they think of your brand. My experience in monitoring thousands of brands over 30 years is that perspective is reality!
What people think, whether or not it is true, determines their behavior – whether they buy from you. Their perception is your reality.
What does your brand mean to people?
What do they say about it?
Small business owners often don’t take the time to find out whether what they think their brand promises or stands for does, in fact, line up with what people think.
They are more attuned to thinking about what they do – their products, their processes, their production, their service – rather than what people see and think about them.
Everyday demands push other priorities to the front, so business owners end up too busy to do the research on their market and their audience. At the same time, the increasingly competitive, constantly evolving marketplace has enormous potential to influence people’s perceptions and understanding of their brand.
So many business owners end up having to wing it, and never really get to know the perception people have of their brand. As a result, when it comes to articulating exactly what their brand means to the people they are trying to serve, most small business owners can’t do it reliably.
“What’s the trick to making a brand meaningful? Focus on outcomes, not outputs.” ~Morgan Clendaniel
At the beginning of each year business owners work on their strategic plans, business plans, budgets, marketing plans – but few bother to work out their brand plan for the year. They do themselves a disservice.
Marketing, however well planned, without a brand plan is like shooting in the dark. They may get many people to hear or see them, but have no control over the impression and perceptions people walk away with. How then can the business owner predict or control the business they will be able to do?
Brands are like people. They have personalities and character and they change over time. Strong brands do, at least. They adapt in response to the market and to social and technological trends, and they reflect the shifting issues and concerns of their customers.
It’s never too late to work on your brand plan, which should start with a good positioning statement.
A brand positioning statement is the result of deep and meaningful thought about what you want to be known for. It is a succinct declaration of what you want in the minds of your prospects when they hear your brand name.
Grab your notebook, notepad or even a napkin and write down your positioning statement:
- Your brand name, the category, business or industry you are in
- Who your target customer is
- What needs they have now
- What outcome only your brand offers – the unique and compelling point of difference your brand has over competitors
- What this means for them
- What your “proof of promise” is – why your target should believe you can deliver the benefits
Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Two important steps left:
- Check in with yourself and make sure your answers are aligned with what you want to give and what you want to be known for. Does your brand positioning reveal what you stand for?
- Check all your marketing and sales materials, social media, and advertising to ensure they reflect this positioning statement.
Are you proud of what your brand means?
Does it reflect you, your Genie, what you are proud of?
Author: Sue Hines