If you ask ten different people what “branding” is, you’ll get ten different answers. Understanding what it means and how to leverage it effectively will unlock incredible potential for your business. Let’s give it a try.
If you’re in business, it’s safe to assume you want more people to buy more of your things. Whether it’s food, widgets, or consulting services, you want to have more sales.
However, there are two hurdles you have to overcome. First, nobody cares about your business. Second, you have millions of competitors.
Allow me to explain.
Nobody cares about your business.
That may sound harsh, but most people aren’t going to part with their hard-earned money because they care about supporting you. When a purchasing decision is made, it’s because they want the outcome of what your product offers.
I recently bought pedals for my mountain bike. I didn’t do it because I love small rectangular pieces of aluminum or because I wanted to make sure the company hit their sales quota for the month. My feet kept slipping off of my old pedals which made me bang my shin. I had a problem.
Buying the new pedals, I hoped my rides would become more enjoyable and make my life a little better. The pedals I chose seemed to be the answer I was looking for, and I parted with my money based on that hope.
The lesson? People buy things to make their lives better, even a little bit.
You have millions of competitors.
And by competitor, I don’t mean other companies who provide the exact same thing. I mean anything that competes for your customer’s hard-earned money. The graphic designer and furniture broker wouldn’t be considered competitors, but a restaurant owner might opt to buy new furniture and then not have the money for that new design (or vice versa). As customers, we spend our limited money on whatever seems to promise the greatest return on “how do I make my life better?”
You don’t have to compete with other companies providing similar products—you have to compete with every company in the known universe. Now that you’re depressed, let’s look at some good news:
People do buy your stuff. You have happy customers who understand how your product makes their life better and believe in you enough to buy and re-buy.
The question is, “How can we get more customers benefiting from what we offer?” There are millions of people who would love to have what you provide and would gladly pay top dollar for it. The problem is they have either never seen you, or they do not understand how you can help them.
Your company is one star in a galaxy of competition. How can you bridge the gap and make those connections with potential customers? That’s where branding comes in.
Your ”brand,” as I define it, is your reputation. It’s how you’re perceived. “Branding” would be the actions that build the connection between you and your customer.
There are three ingredients to build the connection between your customer’s needs and the solution you hold.
1. Being Seen
In the galaxy of products and services, being seen can be hard. Part of branding is using the right visual tools to properly communicate how you’re different. In a sea of O’s, you need to be an X. It’s also about differentiating your brand from everyone else so it becomes something people are drawn to. Your visual presentation is the first step in attracting a new customer. If you look like everyone else, you’re not going to break through and bridge that gap.
2. Being Understood
Your messaging needs to be clear and simple. You need to focus on the problems your customer is facing and position what you have to offer as the solution to that problem. People buy things they can understand. Your product may be better than the competition’s, but if you can’t explain it clearly in a way that resonates with your customer’s needs, you’ll lose. It needs to be easy for people.
3. Following Through
You can have the best visuals and compelling messaging, but if you don’t deliver, your brand will never be healthy. It’s about promises made and promises kept. Being consistent in your brand’s execution is the final ingredient that makes it healthy. While being seen and being understood are important, what you do will always hold the most weight as you build your reputation.
How would you rate your brand?
- Are potential customers seeing you in the galaxy of competition?
- Are you clearly communicating that you understand their problems and have the solution?
- Are you following through on promises made?
How Can Longitude° Help?
Longitude° is different than a full-service marketing agency. We specialize in the first two ingredients.We help you develop your brand strategy and messaging through the BrandGPS process. We also create a visual toolbox so you can communicate effectively and attract your ideal customers. Our clients all have one thing in common—they are pouring their life into making their life’s work successful. We understand. We can help you stand out, communicate your value, and build a healthy brand. Why? We believe every business deserves to have the tools to succeed.
Want to learn about how BrandGPS will improve your business? apply today.
Dustin Myers is a brand strategist and designer who has owned and operated Longitude° since 2010. He has had the privilege of consulting with brands all over the world, helping their businesses grow through clear communication. He lives in Springfield, MO with his wife Lauren and their three children.