The word is out! Entrepreneurs and business owners now understand that building a brand is the best way to unmistakably stand out in the marketplace. Unfortunately, the majority of business owners struggle with the complexity of brand as a whole. That's a whole other conversation. If you need to better understand what a brand is go HERE FIRST.
That said, it's important to note that many have failed at building a brand because they failed to take the time to do the "deep work", the internal exploring, it takes to define a clear and consistent brand. This is the #1 reason. The only other reason...they don't know what a brand is. My point...read through these three simple steps and you'll have the 10,000 foot view of where to start.
These three steps are the beginning of getting paid higher fees, attracting ideal clients, and creating the influence and reputation it takes to become an industry authority. These benefits and more are what building a brand can do for your new business. Let's dive into the three steps...
3 Simple Steps to Building Your Brand
Brand positioning in layman's terms is "finding the gap" or the missing solution in the market that aligns with a strength, skill or service you can or already provide and communicating the value of it to your customers. In order to do that you need to do extensive research on the following...
- Your target market.
- Your competitors in the market.
As you better understand your potential customers as well as how your competitors are positioned to serve them you'll be able to pinpoint gaps. These gaps provide potential opportunities for you to not just take advantage of, but to potentially become a leading provider. If you can find the gap that best aligns with a strong solution you provide you're in business. Stake your claim to that position and strategically plan to dominate it as quickly as you can.
Have you ever seen a professional athlete, politician, or a celebrity stand up for something that was important to them? If so, you may have heard them mention they are speaking up because they now have the platform to do it. Colin Kapernick is famous for using his platform to stand up for equal rights, a cause he cared deeply about.
Your platform is the place or collection of places you present your brand in it's best light. Specificially your "homebase" (more on that in a minute).
For example, if you're a videographer, YouTube could be a great individual platform for you. A videographer with a collection of places as a platform may look like a company website, YouTube, LinkedIn & Facebook Live. If you own a fitness business, an online publication with an emphasis in fitness or healthy lifestyles could be a great solo platform for your brand. Or, it may look like your personal training studio, speaking, Tik Tok & instagram.
The most important lesson to understand about a platform is that when planned out properly, it's strategically designed to sell something...a product, a message, a service, a cause, etc. Homebase is the place most of these sales occur. I call it homebase because it's the part of the platform owned by you. In a today's digital world that usually looks like your company website.
The satellite parts of the platform, such as the weekly article you write for your local newspaper, your social media business page, the on the shelf of a partner/affiliates store and any other number of places known as potential marketing channels are designed to create brand awareness. These brand touchpoints can also generate sales right then and there, however the primary goal is to draw people back to your "homebase".
It's at your homebase that you can communicate more directly with the consumer and the profit margin on sales is much better. If you don't already, I highly encourage you to naildown your plan for homebase and at least 1 or 2 primary satellite locations to begin your platform foundation.
The end goal of building a brand for business is to generate more leads and sales. That can't happen is you're not consistently promoting your product and service offerings. Successful promotions are built on marketing campaigns that help move a person from problem awareness to an actual purchase.
Unfortunately for us, this isn't a one step process. We, as the brand, have to share stories and valuable content to build enough interest, and more importantly trust, to walk consumers along the customers journey to becoming a buyer. This is where we begin to understand our audience better, what content topics, type and marketing channels are working, how long the sales cycle takes and where we can improve to shorten it.
Great marketing campaigns are thought out to build trust faster. They strategically distribute a variety of stories and content, in context, for each individual marketing channel. Executing a promotion effectively builds that honest connection (between consumer & brand) in a shorter period of time. Aka, a new customer.
For a lot of businesses this is where their brand crumbles. How? Too many businesses create and distribute the content to get the sale, but fail to follow through with equally as good ongoing service to continue to build the relationship.
If a consumer trusts you enough to buy and you fail to deliver on the promise of your brand you can expect high turnover. You're also leaving a lot of money on the table. Promotion success is often built on previous buyers because the bridge of trust is already built and they buy from you again with much less resistance. Even worse than losing those customers you worked so hard to get is the negative impact on brand reputation. As this begins to "leak" into the public and people begin to get word that your brand is just about fancy promotions to get a sale, people become even more resistant to buy.
Don't just promote to make a sale use campaigns to promote an experience and solutions you can stand by as well as follow through on. Do this well, and then increase the frequency of this repeatable process.
A Last Word on Brand Building for a New Business
There's no perfect system for building a brand. Every brand is unique and takes time to understand, "feel out", and express effectively. Along the journey of doing this the market is changing, trends come and go, and your customer will be growing and evolving while all this is going on. Be patient, but persistent. Don't focus too much on the "how to", but rather focus on bringing to life the experience your customer deserves. Do this, not without, creating the experience you'd like yourself.
That's the trick to brand...you can't be short sighted or selfish. Doing that will lead to a brand that's short lived. However, if you do the opposite, and consider where the overlap is between your strengths, skills and experience and the customers wants, needs and aspirations you'll awaken a connection that changes everything. You'll become the influence that leaves a dent in people's lives and in return grow a business you can be proud of for the long term.