Back in the day….like in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s, If you had a good product, people would buy it. Services were plain sight. If you had a plowing business, you might use your last name and put it together: J&K’s Plowing.
It was clear what you did, and that’s all that mattered. There was no differentiation between how you did it, or what groups of people were best served by your service or product.
Branding came later.
Once commercialism had reached a pivotal point in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s (think: Mad Men era), consumers needed a way to figure out the difference between very similar products and services.
Simon Clift, Chief Marketing Officer of Unilever, describes branding this way: A brand is the contract between a company and consumers. A bundle of contracts, in fact. And the consumer is the judge and the jury. If he or she believes a company is in breach of that contract either by under performing or straying from its core values, the consumer will simply choose to enter a contract with another brand.
Discovering your company’s brand has many benefits.
It’s sort of like a map for your business. Once you know who you are, it’s easier to write about it, talk about it, and sell it. Your ideal clients will gravitate to it. It will look, feel, smell and taste authentic. You’ll be able to create marketing campaigns based on your brand. You’ll be able to partner with supportive businesses who understand your brand and mission.
Finding your brand isn’t easy. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees when you own a small business.
Try this exercise. Text five of your closest friends or colleagues and ask them to give you three words that either describe you (if your business is consulting, or centers around you as a person), or describe your business.
The results will not only make you feel great all day (we guarantee it!), but you’ll also get an idea of what other think about you and what you do. If it’s a little off, or not what you expected, adjust. If it’s spot on, keep doing what you’re doing and continue working toward exemplifying those words.
After that…come to our Make Your Website Awesome Workshop all about Envisioning Your Company’s Brand on Monday, April 13th at 9:30am at the Holobeing in Boulder. The intimate, informal class offers plenty of time for self-introspection, Q&A, and individual attention.
Diane Whiddon started Novel Website Design nine years ago to help creative-types get an online presence. Her “failed” career as a romance novelist helped her fall in love with helping others be their best selves and enjoy running their successful businesses.