Build Your Identity on Core Values for Enduring Financial Success
Many business owners spend much of their time, money and energy promoting their products and services instead of building their brand image. If your main emphasis is on your product offerings, then you don’t have a brand, you have a commodity. You are most likely competing solely on price because you have not clearly defined your unique marketing position – what it is that makes you different, special and more compelling than anyone else in your industry.
Why do most business owners avoid branding their companies? In short, because it’s hard work. It takes time, attention and honesty to “drill down” and determine a company’s core strengths. And it takes courage to devote a company’s future on owning a niche market. Instead, most owners will think they are playing it safe by trying to be all things to all people. But in the end, that strategy fails precisely because there is no central focus. Consumers can’t remember what they can’t recall. So if you say you are known for price, quality, service, selection, reputation, honesty and being family owned and operated, that’s just too much for anyone to remember. Even major corporations will only attempt to own one niche of a market, such as Walmart’s focus on price, Volvo’s focus on safety and Apple’s focus on innovation.
If you want to successfully brand your company, you have to be willing to make choices and commit to promoting your key strength.
If you want to successfully brand your company, you have to be willing to make choices and commit to promoting your key strength. In reality, you are giving up nothing, and actually gaining recognition for excelling at something. Rolls-Royce is not missing the market by not having a cheap version of their car. In fact, their image would suffer, even it they gained a few more sales. Their brand is based on prestige — that is their focal point. A good way to measure if your company really has a brand image at all is to ask this simple question, “What one word defines our company?” If you can’t come up with one, chances are you are scattered in too many directions.
To build your company into a brand name, start by defining your core strength. Then ask if your company brand name reflects and supports that attribute. If not, consider rebranding to better communicate your message. Then look at your tag line (you do have a tag line, right?) and determine whether your tag line further supports and clarifies this brand message. Then do the same thing with your company logo. If you want to be known for being cutting edge, does your logo look tired and outdated? If so, revise it and define a standard set of logo colors that will appear wherever your company brand name is marketed, on brochures, web pages, collateral materials. Be consistent in everything you do, and have your company name, tag line, logo, and design speak with a unified voice.
Once you have aligned your brand name, brand message, and corporate image, you will find that you start to gain more attention and recognition in your field. Customers will recall you more easily and know what it is you stand for. You may “lose” some potential customers, but these will be the ones that would never had been a good fit in the first place. If you become known for quality, these are the ones who would have complained about your prices. So by aligning correctly, you will attract a better matching clientele – customers that love your business and refer you to similar wonderful customers.
Making tough decisions is never easy, and defining your company’s main purpose, its reason for being, is one of the most crucial tasks you will face as a business owner. But by doing so, you will be able to transcend the role of a commodity seller of goods and services. You will begin to represent something meaningful to your client base. It may be service extraordinaire, unmatched quality, knowledge and expertise, or innovative leadership. By focusing on what you do best, you will become “branded” in the minds of your customers, command greater dollars for your services, and gain a loyal and dedicated following. That’s much better than being all things to all people. And instead of being just another seller of products and services, you will have a company that has made a name for itself!
About the author: With over twenty five years of company naming and branding expertise, Tungsten founder Phil Davis is a marketing and advertising veteran, having personally named over 250 companies, products and services worldwide. As a sought after branding expert, Phil has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, and Newsday.
BY Phil Davis
Brand Naming Expert
With over twenty-five years of company naming and branding expertise, Tungsten founder Phil Davis is a marketing and advertising veteran, having personally named over 250 companies, products and services worldwide. As a sought-after naming expert, Phil has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, and Newsday.