Many entrepreneurs question the value of branding – mostly because they don’t understand what it means. As a small business owner, you very often feel that you have so much to do, and never enough time. Why should you spend time developing your brand? Why is branding so important? Because it is the driving force that motivates people to buy your product or service.
Branding is all about creating an emotional attachment that binds your customers to your product. When your customer is bonded to your product – he or she will buy it. And if you can get the customer to purchase repeatedly, you’ve created a critical pathway – a pathway to sustained growth and profitability. So how do you create a brand that elicits customer loyalty? By telling a compelling, memorable story about your business.
We humans are natural storytellers. We are wired to listen to stories. If there is no compelling story – there is no sale. An engaging narrative enables the consumer to connect to the storyteller and what they care about. And hopefully, if the storyteller has done a good job, then the prospective customer cares about the same thing . . . and decides to buy, again and again. And better yet, influences their friends, family and professional network to benefit from your products too.
How do you develop your brand? Start your story by revealing how your product or service meets your targets’ needs. To do this you need to understand your prospective customer. You want to know what will really motivate them to make a decision to buy. How you do this? Research your target client so that you know them. Talk with your customer and LISTEN to them.
Armed with this information expand on your brand story. Use powerful words as you describe why you started your business. Why do you want to connect with people? Was it a desire to share your thoughts or display your artistic creations? Was there a defining event that brought you to this point? Are you driven to teach or impart what you’ve learned? Think too about your values, morals and principles. What defines your products and services? Reveal those aspects of your business and integrate them into your brand story.
Next you want to convey the purpose of your business. How are you helping people? What is your mission? Are you entertaining them or keeping them safe? Will they grow professionally or personally? Are you providing a product or service that will make their life easier? Use words that paint a picture or evoke strong emotions or memories. Remember that the goal is to bond with your prospective customer – to help them to see how and why buying your product or service will benefit them.
Progress to telling the prospect about the value proposition behind your brand. How does your product or service benefit your customers and meet their needs? To round out this part of your story, step back and spend some time identifying your ideal customer. Who are you trying to reach? Why will your product or service improve their life? Why is your product useful?
Are you stuck? Time to step back and study your competition. You can show the value of your service or product by contrasting or comparing it to your competitors’ offering. Describe why your services and products are different from other options available on the market. What makes your brand unique? Draw your audience into the story of your brand with intriguing examples, compelling testimonials or captivating pictures.
Your brand identity then will be comprised of: your company’s vision and values, its general personality, the individual attitudes of your employees, and its attributes compared to competing brands. Realize that your brand promise is delivered through every customer interaction. Branding does not stop with the initial marketing communications – it continues to manifest itself within the product and service experience created by your entire company and the consumers who buy, or don’t.
In summary, brand identity conveys a company’s reason for being; its ability to provide beneficial products and services to consumers. If the prospective customer can understand their need for your product or service they’ll feel compelled to do what you need them to do for your business to survive. This every entrepreneur knows and understands, without the sale, there is no business. So set aside some time. Get ready to tell a really good story.