We all understand how important brands can be. There are brands that signify all over the world. Nike. Harley Davidson. Starbucks. These are companies that are more than just the products they sell. They’re lifestyles. They’re statements, both about the company and the consumers who choose them.
If you think bold, memorable branding is only available to big companies with massive marketing budgets, think again! No matter your industry, you can cultivate a unique brand that resonates with your clients. Want to know how to do it?
1. Clarify your company’s purpose
For a brand to be meaningful, it must connect to your company’s reason for being (which, incidentally, assumes you have a reason for being above and beyond simply earning an income.) Why did you start your company? How do you think you’re making the world a better place? Without a firm grasp of your purpose, you’ll never be able to communicate what’s unique and important about your company.
2. Enlist your employees
Along with clarifying your purpose, you must also ensure that every single member of your staff understands that purpose and knows how and why to communicate that purpose with every customer. In a perfect world, your purpose isn’t something that’s pounded into your staff. It’s something you hire for. When you hire an employee who shares your values, then you’re on the right track. Effective branding isn’t an afterthought. It infuses everything you do!
3. Create a rallying cry
So for my company, Profit First, our purpose, our rallying cry is “We want to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty!” We say it, and we mean it. Every morning huddle (our quickie standing meeting) reiterates our purpose and the steps we’re going to take that day to accomplish it. Our rallying cry lets us communicate our purpose and values quickly…to anyone and everyone. That’s our brand.
4. Enlist your customers
You know your purpose. Your staff knows your purpose. But do your customers know your purpose? Letting your clients know that they’re buying more than just your goods or services is key to enlisting them in your brand building efforts. Consider the Life is Good brand. When people don a t-shirt, they’re making a statement about a lifestyle, rather than just getting dressed. Folding in what makes you unique and worthwhile is a big part of successful branding.
5. Hire a pro
Sometimes we think we should be able to do it all, but no matter how talented you are, you need help in the areas that aren’t your strength. If marketing isn’t your thing, consider hiring a consultant or agency to help you crystallize and evangelize your brand. Professionals can help you avoid spinning your wheels and wasting money on ineffective tactics.
Your brand is more than just your company name and a slogan. It’s the expression of your values, your quality, and your unique vision. Branding done right cements you in the minds of your customers. It makes it easy for people to understand who you are and what you do. Branding differentiates you from your competitors, and it speaks to your ideal customer, resonating with the people who will most appreciate your work.
Mike Michalowicz (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is MSNBC’s business make-over expert; is a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and is the author of the cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan has already been called “the next E-myth!”