What is your brand?
Yes. Your company does have a brand. Your competition has brands. Hell, even you, as an individual, have a brand.
And no. It’s not your company’s name. It’s not your logo. It’s not even your brochures, website, or ads.
So what is a brand and why is it important?
First of all, don’t feel too bad. If you were to ask a random somebody on the street to define their brand, you would most likely be greeted with a blank stare, idle drooling, or, worst case, a face full of pepper spray. Sure, you may get a few people who’ll talk about golden arches, a siren, or a swoosh, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what a brand really is.
A brand is an idea. Think of it this way: Would you still be you if you had a different name? Would you still be you if you had a different face? Without getting too existential and weird, yes. You would still be you. Everything you are – your thoughts, your emotions, your personality – would be the same. That gooey core of you-ness? That’s your brand.
How does this relate to your business?
Well, when it comes down to it, your brand is the sum of your customers’ experience with your company at any and every point of contact. It can be based in fact: “ETE REMAN remanufactures transmissions.” It can be based on emotion: “Oh, Captain Reman! You make me laugh. I am laughing.” It can be personal: “I always get the best service from Mary at ETE REMAN.” It’s not just what you offer, but how you offer it. More often than not, it can mean the difference between prospects and customers.
Your brand is your bond. The gooey core of your company – your customer service, the quality and value of the product or service you offer, your marketing strategy and execution, the tone and voice you use in your marketing, your relationships with your community and trade organizations – that’s what makes your customers want to build (or end) relationships with you.
And that’s why your brand is important.
Now, take a few minutes to think about your company, your leadership and how you interact with your customers. (Hint: Be honest and realistic. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than flat out disappoint.)
1. Why do your customers use your product/service?
2. Is your company more personable or professional?
3. Spontaneous or planned?
4. Progressive or traditional?
5. Adventurous or established?
6. Fun or serious?
7. Accessible or Exclusive?
8. Embrace or resist technology?
9. Product- or service-oriented?
10. What are your strengths?
11. What are your weaknesses?
Oh, hey. What do you know? You just discovered your brand!
Bonus: You can use these same questions to identify the brands of your competition, then compare the results against your own to find your competitive advantage.
Even superheroes need sidekicks. While she’s not quite ready to throw on the unitard and mini-cape just yet, Aimee Brock (aka Jill of All Trades) shares her expertise with readers in her first contribution to Reman University.