Developing your Brand: Where to Start

Posted by on July 8, 2008 in Business Start Up Advice, Marketing [ 0 Comments ]

Everyone talks about developing a brand. Some people understand immediately the return of having a recognizable brand. Some don’t really believe that concentrating on developing a brand name will really help the business or become an asset in the future. I can assure you of one thing. Developing a brand challenges you to understand what is truly different about your company, what you do and how you do it. Those not interested in building a brand either don’t know what truly makes them different or they are too lazy to find out.

If you want to ensure that the time, work, money, emotions, sacrifices and all else invested in your business ends up becoming a respected and known brand then here’s where you start.

Start from within. Two companies may offer landscaping services and yet be very different. The owner/operator of one may naturally be a very jovial guy, a real people person. He knows his work and does a great job but his approach is more friendly. Perhaps his way of communicating is more neighborly or even familial. The second landscaping company operator could be just as skilled but she is more academic in her approach. She is polite and kind and treats everyone with respect but her natural focus is to educate her customers on what is being done on their properties and she has more of a teacher/student-type relationship with her customers.

See the difference? What you see emerging here are two very different brands. Here are some steps to get you started with identifying how your brand is special and unique. In later posts we’ll look at how you stack up against your competition and what you look like compared to your favorite brands. This three-dimensional perspective is going to map out your brand very clearly.

Now, more about you. Answer these questions to start to define your brand.

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Our product:

  1. Is our product or service innovative, just better or completely new?
  2. What motivated us to develop it? (frustration with existing product, a vision for a new way of thinking…?)
  3. When customers have a good experience with our product or service do we want them to be relieved, completely enthusiastic or feel a sense of safety or comfort, or something else?

Our communication:

  1. How do we communicate with our customers? Is it erratic, overly communicative, friendly, jovial, distant, educational?
  2. Think of someone in your organization (or life) who you really like to talk to and describe their characteristics (friendly, empathetic, and so on)
  3. Make a list of the 3-5 basic rules of good manners that are most important to you? (the golden rule, always returning a call within 24 hours, and so on…)

Lay out the answers to these questions on paper, make particular note of the adjectives you use. Take a step back and see if a personality – or a way of ‘being’ emerges. This is what makes you unique and different from your competition. These are the qualities that will form the foundation of your brand.

In the next “Developing your Brand” post in July we will understand how to learn from your competitors. Your learnings will be juxtaposed with your personality profile that you’ve developed here to help you further refine your unique brand.

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