Understanding your Brand/Business – What business are you really in?

Your brand – are you clear what your business is and what it’s not?Branding and communcation <strong> © <a href='http://www.dreamstime.com/icefields_info'>Alain Lacroix</a> | <a href='http://www.dreamstime.com/'>Dreamstime.com</a></strong>

This may seem like a strange question to ask business owners, of course your clear on what your business is, right? If I asked your managers, admin team, sales people and receptionist would they all give me the same answer within a few seconds?

For example an Architect would normally say – ‘I design houses’- whereas I would suggest:

I am in the business to help people fall in love with their home all over again’!

There are hundreds of equally skilled Architects out there but why should a client choose you, what makes you stand out from the crowd? Creating a strong brand will allow you to:

  • Differentiate yourself from your competition
  • Position your focused message into the hearts and minds of your customer
  • Persist and be consistent in your efforts
  • Customise your services to reflect your personal brand
  • Deliver your message clearly and quickly
  • Project credibility
  • Strike an emotional chord
  • Create strong customer loyalty

How a brand creates perceptions in the mind of a customer

A brand is communicated by two kinds of messages:

Tangible messagesExamples include names, icons, logos, strap-lines, design of anything tangible, even design of the environment your customers walk into, direct mail, event sponsorship, packaging, colour schemes and so on.

Intangible messages– These are the emotions and values conveyed by the brand or the brand’s ethos.

To be effective, the messages should be fulfil the following criteria of the 4 ‘C’ ’s

 Clarity – They should be clear, easy to understand and meaningful to your customers.

Congruence – They should be in Harmony with the reality of the product.

Consistency – Customers must be able to depend on your brand to deliver the same experience every time. Because your customers experience your values through your brand, the only way they’ll truly become loyal to you is through your dedication and consistency.

Constancy – They should be communicated to the target market regularly.

Remember the essence of a brand lies not simply in the messages given out, but in the way those messages are PERCEIVED by others.

The strength of any brand is in the relationship, the more business you’ll do, and the more likely it is that customers will refer you to their friends and associates.

If you are an established business go and ask current employees, ex-employees, current customers, past customers, business suppliers etc Anyone that comes into contact with your company. Example questions:

What do you like about the company?

What don’t you like about the company?

What sets us apart from the competition?

What do you think the company’s main message is to its customers?

Three words that best describe the company?

You might not like some of the answers, you have to be prepared for that. But this is an empowering process, really understanding your business and what you communicate gives you the power to create a clear, concise message which your staff and customers buy into!

Please help me in 2013 and answer the following question in the comments below, I will be collecting your answers!
What phrases or quotes have you heard that has had an impact in your life?