By Suzanne Tulien, Brand Elevation Enthusiast, The Brand Ascension Group
It’s already February, 2019. Business owners everywhere are still wondering what this year will bring them in terms of profits, growth, evolution, and success.
This article will be brief, as I just have one point I’d like for you to consider as you progress your business into 2019. “To Know Your Brand is to Be Your Brand”….the title of this article is the key learning point. Really think about what this says and how powerful it can be in terms of your brand’s evolution, it’s consistency, its approach in the marketplace, it’s competitive advantage…it means everything.
Let me explain. When you understand that your brand is merely a perception in the minds of you, your employees, your customers and stakeholders, then you’d better understand what you want that perception to be. You do have control here, contrary to some marketing consultants beliefs. You can establish the foundation of your brand through definition and action. The more deeply you define how your brand should be perceived, the easier it is to build the supportive infrastructure to express it, congruently. The more you consistently express it, the more your customers believe and trust. The more they trust, the more they advocate for your brand.
On the flip side…if YOU (business owners and employees alike) don’t define your brand; your CUSTOMERS WILL (and have). That is where you lose control as an entrepreneur. The perception of your brand conjured up by all of your customers will probably be all over the board because there won’t be consistency from one transaction to another. Your customers’ perceptions will be built upon their current mood and expectations, which can range from one end of the spectrum to the other. You cannot be inside their heads, but you can understand your brand’s overall ‘way of being’ and manipulate how you express that distinction through the transactional experience of the customer.
Our job as entrepreneurs is to help the customer define, in their own minds, what doing business with us is like. How do we do that? We understand that our customers make buying decisions based on how they are perceiving the product, service, and most importantly, the environment or context in which they are purchasing. Think about how human beings perceive. We are picking up on all kinds of stimuli that feeds the development of our opinions, everything from the temperature in the room, to what we are currently smelling, hearing, and seeing. Entrepreneurs have all these multi-sensorial areas at their disposal to help create and define the perceptual experience of the customer.
By knowing your brand better, you can become it in so many ways throughout every facet of your business. Knowing your brand by defining its core attributes (Style, Values, Differentiators and Standards) will uncover specific, memorable, and consistent ways of being that will separate you from your competition. Knowing your brand makes running your business more fun, helps you select the ‘right’ employees, clarifies your marketing messages, and carves out a clear roadmap to decision making as your business evolves.
What is the ONE WORD your brand should or could ‘own’ in the minds of your market? Before you consider your next marketing campaign expense, ask yourself if your brand is acting and behaving consistently and in accordance with a desired perception, day in and day out, among all employees? How can your business elevate the experience to be even more ‘on-brand’ in your delivery of products and services? How have you specifically differentiated yourselves against your competition, consistently?
When small business entrepreneurs get this concept early, and adopt the consciousness around being the brand through and through, they are more apt to increase their rate of growth, build customer advocacy faster, and have more joy and passion around what they do. Its time to KNOW and be more of your brand.