What is Business Branding?
Business branding is a term that most business people are familiar with, but are often not 100% sure about the meaning of. Actually, a lot of people believe that their logo is the cornerstone of their ‘brand’ and become very emotionally attached to it (when in most cases, the logo is really only specifically significant to the business owner).
So I am going to break the concept of ‘brand’ down in the simplest terms, because most confusion happens when simple concepts become complicated with jargon.
Your ‘brand’ is a very clear and refined description of who you are and everything you provide to your market. Your brand should combine all of your product and service’s tangible features and benefits, as well as the (far more important), intangible emotional benefits your customers will experience having done business with you.
Creating and then maintaining a clear and consistent brand can be simple enough in the beginning, but over time, it is easy to stray from the path as your business grows and changes. Growth and change are healthy, natural and essential in business (especially as you begin to determine what you do and don’t want to do - so your market changes).
But the fundamentals of your brand should remain the same. Here are some questions to ask yourself as your business evolves:
Who are you, and what do you want people to know about you?
What is your story? How did you get to where you are? Can you describe this in a way that is ‘customer centric’ (meaning, your story must be told in such a way that it is more about your customer or client, and their concerns or challenges, than it is about you). There is a bit of a knack to getting this right, but once you understand the framework, and the degree to which all people are responsive to stories, it will become much simpler to you.
Who does your business serve? Many business owners are reasonably vague about this, so do your research (the best way is to ask the customers you already have - it doesn’t need to be difficult). What do they want? How do you help them to get it?
“Who’s your Bob”? This is a concept we learned from Dr Glen Livingston. What this means, is that you should create an avatar of your absolute ideal customer.
How are you unique in your market? How do you compare with your competition? How can you demonstrate or show proof of this?
Distill these characteristics into a very clear message that you maintain across every marketing asset you have. If your business changes - adjust this across all of the above elements to reflect those changes.
Communicate with the people in your market regularly and invite them to engage with you. This will help to nurture the relationship over time. It will help you to facilitate repeat business and referral (the best type of business there is).
If you can ‘stick to the knitting’ and create this type of brand messaging your ideal customer or client will be more attracted to you and your offering, because they will easily understand how you can help them to get what they want. Remember, a confused mind says ‘no’, so keep it simple. And if you need a hand to do this, you know where we are :-).