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5 Things a Brand is Not

image - SMARTSTART Branding

The only income security you can ever truly rely on is that which comes from work you create yourself.

A business of your own is such a beautiful thing. It lets us share the best of ourselves and everything we have to offer with others. It’s how we can share our learning, insights and advice. And if we’re really good at running our businesses, we can even make enough money to create a wonderful life for ourselves and our families. The very idea of being in business for ourselves seduces us with all that is creatively possible.

So congratulations on your courageous decision to become a business owner! It doesn’t matter how you got here.

For some, it’s a calling. For others, fate stepped in and took away their corporate job and now they have a desperate need to keep themselves in life’s little luxuries like food and shelter.

I absolutely believe that, in today’s world, the only income security you’ll ever have is that which comes from work you create yourself. And that has been my opinion since I was a young teenager (my diplomatic way of admitting to thinking this way for a very long time).

The products and services you are selling (or are planning to sell) in your business have the potential to influence and impact many while providing an income for your needs in the here and now and beyond.

Because you’ve decided to build a business through which you hope to realize this potential, it’s in your long-term best interests to do everything you can to support your own success in bringing to life something that serves your customers well, that can possibly live on forever, and that can provide you with the personal satisfaction and joy that comes from having left a legacy.

As a business development strategist, clients depend on me to tell them exactly what they need to do, and how to do it in a way that improves their chances of being rewarded, ultimately, with a success story.

My advice to them (and you) is always the same:

If you want your business to provide an income for 1 year, grow sales.

If you want your business to provide an income for 3 years, grow channel.

But if your dream involves having an income for life and creating a business built to last, grow a brand.

If you think branding is something only big businesses need to worry about, I’d like to challenge your thinking by suggesting the smaller you are, the more critical building a solid brand is to your success.

With a strong brand, you can reach more people, touch more hearts and have a greater and longer-lasting impact.

With a strong brand, you can market and share your message more effectively and dominate the Google organic search listings without spending any money on search engine optimization or AdSense.

With a strong brand, you can get all of the word-of-mouth buzz you can handle from social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (to name just three of hundreds of social media options).

And with a strong brand, you can have the mainstream media calling you instead of the other way around.

A brand is a very powerful way of communicating your message and being heard.

Over the course of our time together, I’ll show you how branding yourself and your business effectively makes it easier for you to achieve your critical business objectives.

It’s important to your success that, from the beginning, you clearly understand a brand is not:

  • trademarks (these are legal properties)
  • a mission statement (this is a reminder)
  • a logo or slogan (these are your signatures)
  • a physical item like a product or service (these are the tangibles)
  • advertising (it only delivers your message)

So what is a brand then?

Your brand is what you (or your product) stand for. Expressed in emotional shorthand.

It’s the promise, the big idea, and the expectations that reside inside the head of each customer’s mind.

A brand is not a logo, not an identity, not a product. It’s a person’s gut feeling about your product, your service or you and your business (or your message).

To put it simply, your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what your customers, your audiences, say it is.

Brand has meanings that exist in people’s minds. It shapes and reflects our quest for meaning. To help you put this into perspective, brand is the difference between:

  • a book store and amazon.com
  • an MP3 player and an iPod
  • a car and a BMW or a motorcycle and a Harley
  • a cup of coffee and Starbucks
  • a designer handbag and a Birkin bag

When you make a choice to stand out from the herd and become a brand, one of the first questions to ask yourself is what does your brand stand for? (It can be anything but it has to be something if you want to make an impact and expect to get a return on your investment in developing it.)

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. And sadly, many do.

Don’t worry about a name for your brand just yet. Instead I want you to simply focus on words that describe what your brand stands for in the minds of your customers.

  • How do you want them to see themselves?
  • How do you want them to see you?
  • What is the response or reaction you hope for from them?
  • And how do you want them to describe you to others…

These are really big questions. Give them all the time they deserve. Do not proceed further in the branding series until you know for certain what your brand stands for.

INSIDER TIP: Write down all of the nouns and adjectives you can think of that apply to your brand or that you want to exist in the minds of your customer audience when they get involved with you and what you are selling. These words will subsequently direct every other choice and decision you’ll make in creating your brand.

More next time. Until then, remember to LOVE YOUR WORK, whatever it may be.

PS Did this post speak to you? If so, please feel free to share it with your own communities, friends and followers. Thanks for sharing the love! ♥♥♥