Your brand is the way you want the world to know you. It should allow people to quickly understand key aspects of who you are, what you do, the “feel” of your company or product, and it should be something that sets you apart from others. It should not be taken lightly, and once you define your brand, you need to make sure everything you do lives up to the guidelines that define it, to create and defend a strong brand. You too as a Top Executive need to have you own Personal Brand (see link at the bottom for more info on this).
Your Brand needs to be part of your business strategy. This will help you decide what you want to offer, to who, at what price, through what sales channel, and how you will communicate this to the market. I’m a believer it is easier to sell what people want, so take time to listen to your market and find out what they want. Knowing your market helps you create a brand that connects to your prospects in ways they can relate to, and keeps you above your competition.
Of course, some companies like Apple have been very successful at building products that people did not know they wanted – yet. What Apple does is understands the way things are and where there is “discontinuity” between what exists, and what could be. Then they jump into the gap and win!
Either way, you need to combine what you want to be with what the market wants, and there is where your Brand should live.
Know Your Why
Simon Sinek has generated a lot of press talking about discovering the WHY of your business. It’s a simple, yet important aspect of the brand you create. Your WHY, determines what you offer the world, who you do business with, and what you say about your product or service. If you want to provide the ultimate in IT Services or the best hamburger, you have to decide what that looks like, then create the offering to match. Once you are sure of your vision and mission, you can offer products and services that live this out, and create a brand that represents this to the market.
Access Business Center in Addison is a good example of knowing your WHY. They believe that people need the proper environment to grow their business. The office and meeting spaces are full of high-tech features, inviting furniture and lots of open space to allow creative thinking and discussion. The meeting rooms are set up with high-tech projectors and sound to meet the need of the business community, as well as a full kitchen with coffee and other drinks you may need while hosting your offsite meeting. They exist to meet the needs of the business community here in the Metroplex and their offering is living out their brand at every touch-point.
If you have not evaluated your own Brand lately, it may be time for an update. Not that the Why of your Brand needs to change, but the way it connects to an ever-changing market may require revisions in how you present it. For example, during my time as VP of Marketing for EFA Processing, we had a division called Debt Relief Options (DRO) that provided Debt Settlement services. When I joined the company, DRO was trying to launch into the market but did not have a Brand that would connect to the market and live out their vision.
I factored in the needs of the market, the mindset of customers, the way we wanted to treat people as part of our vision, and the way others had gone to market before us. We changed the products and services we offered, the look and feel of our logo, our website, and the way we connected with our market. Here is the Before and After of this effort to show you what changes we made as part of our re-branding efforts.
Your Brand Lives Everywhere – not just in your Logo
Your logo is a part of your brand but not ALL of it. Everything you say and do should have a consistent look and feel to represent your Brand. That includes your web page, Facebook page, printed brochures, trade show booth, and email blasts. This Brand Touch-point Wheel can help you think of key areas you need to be mindful of about your Brand.
They way you create and live out your Brand will make your Logo something others will be drawn to. No one knew what the Nike Swoosh was when they first saw it, but as the product developed a cult-like following, it came to reflect all that was great about Nike, and now EVERYONE knows what it is.
Your logo is the short version of your story and helps you build awareness with limited words or space. How you deliver on your brand will make people believers or mockers of your logo. The products you offer, the way you serve the market, the prices, the performance, all add together to confirm or contradict the brand you present to the market. If you don’t deliver what your brand promises, you lose credibility with your customers.
Take for example these two logos. One has always said it is the Ultimate Driving Machine, the other has tried to convince us that Quality was #1. One is more believable than the other – wouldn’t you agree? People may not know what the letter BMW stands for, but they can tell you the reputation they have created. Everyone knows what FORD stands for… (You will have your own version of this joke I’m sure.)
Create your brand wisely, nurture it patiently, and defend it passionately.
If you are struggling to do this well, contact me today and I will connect you to others who can help. This website is part of the Renaissance Executive Forums Brand Image but we shine best when you see us in our Top Executive Groups. Come learn how we are serving the business leaders of DFW during our next Open Forum event.
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ABOUT ROBERT HUNT
I am a Forum Leader and Business Partner for Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. My role is to find the best members for our CEO Peer Groups, then lead each meeting so that our members become Raving Fans. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also email me at info@REFDallas.com or call me at (469) 269 – 5148.
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