We hear the word “brand” thrown around a lot. But what is it and why is it important? Let me explain.
A brand is a person’s gut feeling about your product, service, or organization. The expectation of consistency. A promise. Something for people connect to. Basically, a brand is the personality of your company.
Why this is important
People look for the personality or values of a company that matche their own (or what they perceive to be their own).
For example, a wealthy “high class” person may choose a to buy from companies perceived in the same way. That person shops in stores that are commonly thought of as high end like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, or Barneys.
Whether that person is really “high class” or wealthy are irrelevant, but if they think they are or want to be, they’re going to choose brands that give people the impression that they are.
And in turn, the same goes for the brand. Their clothing could be manufactured at the same place as the shop next door, but because they’ve gone the extra mile with celebrity models, fancy packaging and everything smells of perfume, they are perceived as “high end” and can charge three times as much. This is where perception becomes reality.
It’s not a crime, it’s not fraudulent. It’s the brand they’ve built.
But it goes deeper
Think beyond high end vs low end. Companies go to great lengths to show customers what their personality is, in hopes of making a connection.
We all remember Toms – the shoe company with a heart, that vowed to give a pair of shoes to a child in Africa for every pair sold. Not only were people happy to be buying a new pair of shoes for themselves, but they also got the joy of doing something good for someone else.
Whether Toms is really on a do-good mission, or just knows that shoes for a cause will drive sales, it doesn’t matter. The American people perceive Toms as a humanitarian company, and people with the same values are going to continue to be customers because they identify with their brand.
There are many things that drive sales:
Fear of missing out (FOMO)– The fear that if you don’t get in now, you’re going to miss out on a great opportunity.
Scarcity – The fear that if they don’t buy now, they’ll be all gone
Peer Pressure – Everyone is doing it. You don’t want to be perceived as an outsider by being the only person who didn’t partake.
The list goes on. These are all short term motivators, but what really drives sales is built into our core. As humans, we identify with other people who have the same purpose, beliefs, and values. Our best friends and favorite family members usually have similar values to our own.
If you find a company that represents your core values, there’s a good chance you’ll buy from them. You may not even realize why you’re doing it, but it just feels right.
As a company, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Watch this quick video to see what I mean
How to develop your brand
Remember, your brand is the gut feeling people have about your business. Since you can’t control how people feel about your company, you have to guide them.
You need to do everything in your power to sculpt how people feel about your brand. People are judging your business based on whatever information is available to them and you’re developing a brand whether you know it or not.
Start Creating A Brand Brief. Here’s what you’ll need to figure out:
Mission Statement: If you don’t know why you’re doing something, then there’s no reason to do it. If someone were to ask you, you should be able to instantly recite why you do what you do, which is your mission statement.
Key Values: What key words do you want people to associate your business with? Try coming up with four. Here’s an example: Apple = Visionary, quality, clean, innovative.
Value Proposition: What value are you offering? Why should someone choose your company over a competitor?
Let’s say you’re looking at two window cleaning companies. One says “We clean all your windows” and the other says “We clean all your windows in one hour“, the value proposition of the second company is obvious.
Your Promise: Based off of your mission, values, and proposition, what is your promise to your customers?
Next is the “Elevator Pitch”
When you’re finished with your Brand Brief, you should have your “elevator pitch”. Like I mentioned before, you should be able to tell someone what your company is about with your mission statement, but you also need to throw in your values, promise, and value proposition to make it complete. This is what we call the elevator pitch.
If you were in an elevator with someone and had 30 seconds to tell them what your company is about, could you do it? You should be able to now. Try filling out this template:
For (target customer), who has (customer need), (product name) is a (market category) that (one key benefit). Unlike (competition/market category), the product (unique differentiator/value proposition) like (example & example).
Here’s An Example
Here’s a completed example of a fictitious company:
For middle aged men who suffer from hair loss, Folicgro is a topical growth treatment that has been proven by scientists to be 97% effective. Unlike other topical treatments, Folicgro is proven to work more quickly and effectively, helping men return to their youthful look within 3-5 days.
If you asked someone about their company and they spit that back at you, you’d probably be impressed. When the elevator doors closed they knew nothing of your company, but when they opened they knew enough to pitch your company to someone else!
What is Your Mission Statement?
Comment below to share your mission statement. If you want feedback or help, just say so.