Recently, I have had several entrepreneurs make the statement to me… “I’m not sure I am ready to brand myself/my business.” (Maybe because they are a start up, or think it’s too expensive, or don’t have employees yet, or… [insert excuse]). This immediately provides a red flag to me in that there is a lack of understanding of what a brand is and the process of branding…so I thought this needed to be addressed in my next blog. So here it is.
I have good news and bad news.
The good news…you ALREADY have a brand.
The bad news…you ALREADY have a brand.
The real question is, “Are you in CONTROL of it?”
You see, your brand is simply a PERCEPTION that lives in the mind of your market. So as soon as you open your doors for business, start a relationship or transaction with another human being, they begin crafting a perception of you, your products, and services. If you are actively doing business, creating relationships, and building a reputation, you are creating a brand perception. And if you are not in control of it, then your customer is.
Did you know that in the first seven seconds of contact, the other person picks up on at least 11 impressions? [Think: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, intuit]
The reason already having a brand could be bad news is that you may not have consciously thought through how you want others to perceive you:
- You may not have strategically created a multi-sensory customer experience that is in alignment with how you want your brand to be perceived.
- You may have missed opportunities to reinforce the desired brand perceptions during the transactional process.
- You might not have leveraged your key authentic differentiators that could keep clients coming back and telling their friends.
- You may have missed inconsistencies, that when addressed, would tighten the bond with the customer fully buying into your brand, long-term.
- The articulation of your brand services may not be as clear as it could be to compel your prospects to buy from you.
So in answering the question of “When is the right time to brand?”…
My answer is this: Initiate a conscious, strategic, and deliberate branding process when you want the clarity that enables you to create the intended, authentic brand experience that is in full alignment with who you are, consistently, distinctively, and in a highly engaging way.
Your Brand’s DNA is unique and should be identified and defined so that you can give it real meaning through your actions and behaviors, services, and messaging. This will impact your target market by refining your positioning and creating the distinction that compels them not only to buy from you, but to advocate on your behalf.