Create a Brand Message
Many business owners spend the majority of their time, money and energy promoting their products and services instead of building their brand message. If your main emphasis is on your product offerings, then you don’t have a brand, you have a commodity. And commodities are cyclical – or worse, they can become outdated. With a product/service identified company, you end up competing based on price, because you have not clearly defined, and aligned, with your unique marketing position – what it is that makes you different, special and more compelling than anyone else in your industry.
What it is that makes you different, special and more compelling than anyone else in your industry?
Why do most business owners struggle with their brand message? In short, because it’s hard work. It takes time, attention, and effort to “drill down” and determine a company’s core strengths, and to then align the company around those attributes. And it takes courage to bet a company’s future on an invisible quality vs. a known product. Think Best Buy vs. CompUSA, the first is positioned based on the continual promise of value, the second is on based on a cyclical product. The results are apparent. In the end, product-defined companies suffer the fate of their industry. They do well when things are good, and awful when things turn bad. Wouldn’t it be better to aligned with timeless themes? Wal-mart became the world’s largest retailer on the promise of affordability, Volvo convinced us of their safety, and Apple delivered on innovation. None of these companies were tethered to their industries… stores, cars, and computers. They were positioned based on a benefit, a promise, a “what’s-in-it-for-me?”
Find Your Pivot Point
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 pivot point. A good way to measure if your company really has a brand message at all is to ask this simple question: “What one word defines our company?” Better yet, ask your customers. Do they simply describe what you do? Or do they describe how you do it?
If you want to successfully brand your company, you have to be willing to make choices and commit to promoting your key strength.
To reposition your company and build a viable, long lasting brand, start by defining your pivot point, your core strength — that end benefit your customer is really after. Then ask if your company name reflects and supports that message. If not, consider rebranding to better communicate your central theme. 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. Do the same 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. Be consistent in everything you do, and have your company name, tag line, logo, and design speak with a unified voice.
Be consistent in everything you do, and have your company name, tag line, logo, and design speak with a unified voice.
Once you have realigned your brand name, brand message, and corporate image with your pivot point, you will 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 were never a good fit in the first place. If you become known for unmatched quality, these are the ones who complain about price. So by aligning correctly, you will attract a better matching clientele, the raving fans you want, the customers that love your business and refer their friends.
Making tough decisions is never easy, and defining your company’s pivot point, 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 peace of mind, expert problem solving, or innovative solutions. By realigning with 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. And instead of being just another seller of products and services, you will have a branded company that has earned a name for itself. And that’s simply brilliant!
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.