Your Brand. It says a lot about you. The way you are perceived by the world. It can be big shoes to fill, and a lot to live up to. And it must be an authentic representation of you and your company. The way you work. The way you live. The way you do business. And once you have that message clear as day figured out, you can begin to tell your story to the world.
I was working with a client this past week on a branding exercise, where we were trying to sort through all the possible messages to tell their target market. They are a sport organization whose goal is to increase the overall knowledge of their sport, and in turn, increase membership. Sounds simple. But in amateur sport there are so many competing sports trying to do the same thing, that it is easy to get lost in the massive market of larger sports like hockey or soccer. So how do we stand out?
I posed a question about brand ambassadors for the sport. Who could tell the story of the sport the very best? The flood-way was opened with a rush of names! Olympian after Olympian. National and International champions again and again. Remarkably intelligent and successful human beings who, at one time, participated in the sport. The boardroom went from lack luster to one of excitement. Telling countless stories of inspiration and success. And there we had it – your brand is in the stories you tell. The faces and stories that make you inspired and dedicated each and every day. THAT is a real, authentic brand.
A key factor when working on branding exercises is to determine the ‘real you’. By this I mean not who you want to be, rather who you truly are and how customers perceive you. And moreover, what is your company’s unique selling proposition. What can you say about yourself that none of your competition can say about them? For example, if you are a health food store, hanging your hat on ‘great customer service’ will be difficult – most businesses can or will say that about themselves. Perhaps you have products that no other store carries, or your prices are lower than all of your competition, or you have a speaker series that is unique and teaches your customers something new. Whatever that unique piece is, you have to hang your hat on that. With the above example, this sport has sent more athletes to the Olympics from Manitoba than any other sport. THAT is huge. THAT is something to hang your hat on. The remarkable success of your people.
To get to the essence of your brand, you need to be talking to your customers. What comes to mind when they think of you? The authentic nature of your brand is key. You can then ensure it is in your every day business culture, your marketing and communications, and your life. Self define, be authentic and transparent, story tell consistently, and live up to it all.
So where do you go from here? Give us a call…we can help you sort through the confusion of branding and determine your special spot. And from there, ensuring it is lived and breathed by everyone who is part of your organization. As Steve Forbes once said “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” So let us help you do it right!