Here’s Why You’re Getting Beat by the Competition

The most profitable companies in the world make huge investments toward improving their brand and reputation; often spending millions to get it just right. Yet for many small businesses owners, branding is an afterthought. Why is this?

In this article, I’ll dispel some common misconceptions you may have about branding that could be harming your business. You’ll also learn about how a brand strategy (like the ones we develop through our BrandGPS™ process) could be one of the best investments you could make for your business.

Your Competition Is Winning, Here’s Why…

There’s a disease of misinformation spreading throughout the world of business. It’s plaguing small businesses and startups from every industry. If not caught early, then it could do great harm to your business.

Your competition thrives on your ignorance and they want you to stay misinformed.

Your competitors would prefer that you continue doing business as usual – fighting the uphill battle and constantly spinning your wheels. They don’t want you to be privy to certain best business practices, tricks of the trade, innovative ideas, or powerful marketing tactics. As brand guides, we see the results of this common complacency on a daily basis. Yet, more often than not, this disease can be cured through some education and awareness. With knowledge comes power.

Could You Be Misinformed?

The following statements shine a light on the fact that many people have a flawed understanding of what a brand is and how a brand strategy can benefit virtually every business. If you’ve found yourself saying any of the following statements, there’s a very high chance that you could be misinformed – and quite possibly doing great harm to your business without knowing.

MYTH #1: “There’s no clear ROI to branding.”

TRUTH: The fact is, there is plenty of examples of how proper branding, guided by a professional branding agency, can have a great return on investment. We’ll mention a few below.

MYTH #2: “It’s a nice-to-have, but not that important.”

TRUTH: There’s ample evidence to show that a brand strategy is not just a “nice-to-have” for your business, but a necessary step. If you view branding as just a decoration, or an “optional add-on” it’s time to step into the 21st century and stop running your business like you live in the 1950s.

The climate of the marketplace has changed, and consumers have changed with it. It’s not enough anymore to just say that you have the best prices or best quality stuff. Consumers are smarter and more engaged than ever. They will judge you based on how you look, what you say, and what you do. If any of those three pieces aren’t aligned, then you’ll be ignored.

You need to connect with consumers, not just talk about how awesome you are. They need to know who you are, what you do, what you stand for, and believe it. Developing a strategic brand should be one of the first steps in almost every business.

MYTH #3: “We just can’t afford it.”

TRUTH: In reality, you can’t afford to not have a brand strategy. But if you are an existing business, and truly don’t have any funds to invest in growing your business – then that could be a huge indicator that you need a brand strategy. A brand strategy can be one of the most important investments you make into your business. Implementing these principles, standards, and guidelines for your business can make you more profitable; making the initial investment of hiring a professional brand agency seem small.

MYTH #4: “We can hire ACME Agency to design a logo for half the price.”

TRUTH: This could be one of the most common, and most troubling misconceptions that surround branding. This antiquated idea is plaguing the world of startups and small businesses. Many people believe that spending a few hundred dollars to hire a logo designer will provide the same benefits as a going through an in-depth, comprehensive brand strategy process like BrandGPS™ – This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Investing in a brand strategy and professional brand identity is one of the most important decisions you can make.

Benefits of Branding

Your brand is the public’s response to how you look, what you say, and what you do. Without a brand strategy and professional brand identity, you’re probably missing 2 out of 3 vital pieces that make for a great brand. Implementing a brand strategy and brand identity (like the ones we provide with BrandGPS™) provides a ton of incredible benefits, uses, and tools to help your business grow – like crazy. The list below is not complete by any means, but will give you just a taste of some of the benefits you can expect after improving your approach to branding.

1. A Customer Magnet

People really want an easy connection to the brands they love. A great brand is a great reputation. It lets someone know they can trust your business to deliver the best services or products, all the time. You brand bridges the gap between your business and your customers; strengthening their resolve to do business with you. Often times this can increase metrics for your business such as conversion rates, or average order value.

2. Customer Loyalty Sky-rockets

Great and intentional branding is one of the most effective ways to increase customer loyalty. When people have a memorable experience with your brand, they will remember your brand, not only your product or service. People put their trust in brands, not products. So if your brand can connect with your customers emotionally, and build trust, chances are you’ll have a customer for life.

3. Your Message Connects

If created well, a brand strategy and identity can provide an incredible channel of communication with your audience. Your brand can inform people about your company’s value, your defining message, and unique characteristics. Things like these will help consumers connect to your business, and easily be able to identify your products vs. your competition’s. It’s important to know your customer intimately. What drives them? What motivates them? Once you find this out, design your brand strategy and identity accordingly – and growing your business is almost inevitable.

4. You Look Like a Better Choice

Do consumers know what sets you apart from your competition? Believe it or not, most people won’t just pay you money because you say that you do the best work, you provide the best quality, you’re the most affordable, and you’re just plain awesome. A real brand strategy will give you the right messaging to clearly communicate the value of your offering. Without this positioning statement, your business will just fall into the sea of a thousand competitors. A well-thought-out brand strategy will set your brand apart from the crowd, and even if the competition tries to copy you – it will just further establish and solidify your value in the consumer’s mind.

5. Who Doesn’t Like More Money?

If I offered to give you an additional 23% revenue this year but asked you to give me a small fraction of that amount in return, what would you say? You’d say yes; it’d be a no-brainer. It’d be absurd to say no.

Yet this is exactly what many businesses are doing every single year by not investing in a brand strategy, and getting consistent with their approach. Brand consistency is extremely important, and a pillar of any solid brand strategy.

There have been studies that show brands who are consistent can experience a 23% increase in their revenue, on average. That’s a pretty crazy stat, isn’t it? How would it make you feel to see your revenue increased by 23%? It’d probably feel pretty good, right?

Think about this for your own business. Ask yourself the following:

  1. What do I estimate my revenue to be over the next 12 months?
  2. Multiply that number by 0.23.
  3. That’s how much money you’re throwing away each year by not implementing a brand strategy and maintaining a consistent brand.

So for example, a business making $100,000 annually will lose $23,000 per year by not having an effective and consistent brand strategy in place.

There’s a Better Option

The news is in. You need a brand strategy for your business. If your business doesn’t have one or the one you have is ineffective, get in touch with us.

We’ve worked with many very sharp, forward-thinking owners and entrepreneurs from a variety of industries; guiding them through our 4-step brand development process called, BrandGPS™.

Over the course of 4-6 weeks, we help you establish a solid brand strategy for your business; helping bring alignment to your business goals and marketing efforts. It gives you the right look to attract more ideal customers and ensures that your brand is sending the right message.

What this provides for a company like yours is a clear and consistent connection with people, and quite frankly this often means an increase in your profits. It comes as no surprise to us that many of the business owners we’ve partnered with have expressed that BrandGPS™ is the best investment they’ve made for their business.

Communication Without Connection

Great communication should create a connection, not just relay information.

con·nec·tion – a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.

com·mu·ni·ca·tion – the imparting or exchanging of information or news.

People don’t communicate through words alone, but primarily by emotional exchanges.  This is why branding matters and is so important to businesses.

Studies show that our brain makes judgments about what someone is saying based on their “emotional tone” or rather: body language, eye contact, facial expressions, how distracted they are, and the tone of their voice. We make these judgments before our brain even begins to interpret the meaning of the words we’re hearing or seeing.

1. Connection Makes for Better Communication

As a business owner, you need people to hire you, buy your product, or service; but if you’re only focused on convincing people to buy your stuff,  you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Great businesses focus on truly understanding their customer’s perspective, needs, and desires – doing their best to build a connection with them. If you only focus on your communication technique or savvy marketing campaigns, you can certainly fail to connect with people. Even worse, you could even communicate that you are disingenuous; causing even more harm to your reputation.

Too many businesses start trying to communicate before they ever try to connect. Here are just a few downsides of communication absent of connection:

  • People are turned off by you before they ever give you a chance.
  • Your logo or brand identity conveys a different message than you want. People view you as 2nd-class, the cheapest option, a low-quality business, or just don’t understand your business at all.
  • You invest a ton of money in a marketing agency, or on an ad campaign and don’t see any ROI.

Improve your emotional awareness towards your customer and the right words will follow, but it won’t work the other way around.

When you genuinely care about your audience, you will feel more connected to them. And when there is a good connection, good communication comes naturally. Being disconnected makes for poor communication – and no tricky marketing techniques or big budget ad campaign will change that.

2. Connection Fosters Trust

When a customer doesn’t feel connected to your business, the use of communication tricks and techniques makes them feel manipulated. The more you try to over-communicate, it will make it worse. A person will likely feel that there is a hidden agenda; they’ll believe that your goal is not in their best interest, but rather you’re attempting to get them to do what you want.

This is not a good place to be at as a business owner. But all too many business owners find themselves in this position. Your best chance at building healthy relationships with your audience is to do everything you can to connect with them in ways that don’t seem forced. Subtle ways.

Are you building a connection with your audience? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the first impression they have of your business?
  • How does your logo make them feel, or what does it tell them about your business?
  • Do they believe that you truly understand their needs and desires?
  • Are you engaging in a way that’s familiar and comfortable to them, or does it feel forced?

 

A great brand strategy will create a connection.

 

3. Refocusing Your Business

To begin making a better connection to people start by refocusing. Don’t focus on how to get someone to do what you want.

Rather focus on…

  • Listening to people, not just talking about how great your business is
  • Being genuinely curious to learn about people, their perspective, their troubles, their desires
  • Ensuring that you understand their motivations
  • Improving your product or service to provide people the most value and features that they really want

Remember, you must convey that you care about people and that you truly care about providing them an immense value. If you fall short of this, your connection to them will be lost – what you say to them won’t matter, they won’t care about how awesome you say your product or service is, and your message will fall on deaf ears.

Great communication should create a connection, not just relay information.

In Conclusion

Forget about convincing customers through tricky communication methods. Get connected with your audience right now. It starts with truly caring about people, and beginning to see that your brand is not just a logo or a catchy tagline – It’s your reputation. It’s how you make people feel.

Connecting with your audience will help you to communicate better. More importantly, you will show people you care – which will increase loyalty to your brand.

You will actually experience what it means to have a great product or service that helps people, rather than just talking about it.

 


Want to Make a Stronger Connection?

Find out how BrandGPS by Longitude° can help your business grow. Learn More

 

 

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Or just email us at info@longitudebranding.com