What is Your Brand?

Good morning.  It’s a little overcast this morning here in Vancouver but it should burn off shortly and we ought to have a very nice day today.

I think that many small businesses completely misunderstand the idea of a Brand.  We hear it often and think it has something to do with a cool business name, an imaginary slogan, a logo, a phone number which spells out your business name, domain name: You get the picture.

These items are very important but they are not your Brand – they support your Brand.  Now, what is a Brand?

The best definition of a Brand I have found comes from Al Reis and it is really about “Your Customer’s Image of You.”

If your customers think you are the best widget-maker in town, that is your Brand.  If your customers think you are the only lawyer in town who calls back within 4 hours, that is your Brand.  Their perception becomes your reality and your concern is capitalizing on this and helping spread your Brand.

What do you want your customers talking about when the opportunity arises for them to potentially refer you to a colleague who fits your ideal customer profile?  This is your Brand talking.  Is your current customer missing a vital tool to help you grow your business?

By identifying your Brand, you can start to align your other marketing overhead expenses to support your image.  For instance, if your image in the marketplace is a highly knowledgeable commercial realtor, are you spending your marketing dollars and keeping potential leads, current prospects, and clients informed about real estate trends?  My good friend Jim West of Coldwell Banker does this better than anyone I know.  I am fortunate to be able to call Jim a good friend for many years and he always goes out of his way to share his wealth of information.

His Brand is my image of him.  He cultivates this and when the opportunity comes up to have a conversation with someone about commercial real estate, guess who is top of mind?  By the way, the imagine I have of Jim is exactly the same image that all of Jim’s network sees.  He ensures a consistent message and this is the important part.

The best part of sharing your Brand is that it doesn’t need to consume your entire marketing budget.  Once you identify a possible Brand issue, create a few flyers, perhaps update your website, but most of all, talk the talk.  If you are the most approachable Dentist in town, then cultivate that.  Do presentations to local community groups with lots of Q&A, ask to speak at a school assembly.  You get the point.  Expand on your approachability and enhance your Brand.

If you are unsure of your real Brand, ask a few customers what makes you different than every other widget-maker.  They might be shocked, they might even say they never even think about it as you feel like a perfect fit as you get them (what a Brand!), but their response might open up new avenues for spreading your message and growing your business.

I would encourage you to have a conversation about your marketing expenses and if they are really generating the revenues you would like with your accounting professional.  If you are not currently working with an accountant or would like to have a second opinion, feel free to contact me to set up a free no obligation consultation about your business.

Have a great Tuesday.

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