I’m sure you’ve heard that a strong brand can help increase sales and build customer loyalty. But what is a brand?
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
But a brand is not a logo.
Let’s take Starbucks, for example. Their brand isn’t just the symbol on the cup. Their brand is the way their stores are laid out, the lingo used in naming their drinks – even their customer service is a HUGE part of their brand.
When thinking about your brand, think about it as the combination of who you are and how you want to be perceived. Then make it so. A brand must be true. If you want to be known for great customer service then make darn sure you are all about delivering great customer service.
The cool thing about building your brand is it will not be the same as anyone else’s. Your brand is uniquely you.
Therefore, it makes sense to understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see YOU as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.
I like to use this exercise to help my clients think about their branding.
How to Get Started
First, write down your story. Answer these questions:
- • Who:
- • What:
- • Where:
- • When:
- • Why:
Next, determine what your niche is. Answer these questions:
- • Who are your customers?
- • What do your customers need?
- • What do they value?
- • Who are your competitors?
Now, it’s time to define your niche. Fill in the blanks below:
- • (Your Business)
- • is the (best, only, a leading, etc) place for
- • (type of customer) with
- • (specific need) because
This statement becomes your positioning statement.
Creating Your Image
Ready for the fun part? A lot of businesses start here, but that’s not correct. Use the information you’ve just worked through to guide you as you create your image. Whether you do it yourself or work with a firm such as Gaslight, this Branding Blueprint will prove very useful in creating a true, effective brand for your business.
Kelly is available to speak to and lead workshops for your staff or organization on a variety of marketing topics. You may contact her at 320.290.5909 or email.