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Is your business stagnating or even beginning to fail? Are sales falling and you’re wondering what has happened?
There could be hundreds of things wrong with your product, services, promotion and customer relations, but what’s likely failing is your brand. It’s one of the most complex topics but as a business owner you need to grow your knowledge of branding and the brand image.
You could hire a branding expert, which isn’t a bad idea because they understand the complex intricacies of brand theory, planning and development. And they can help you with the “hows” of packaging a new brand image so it’s continually relevant to your customers.
I only mention that because branding is becoming the most important task in marketing today. The reason: competition, media and technology. Your brand must be powerful and clear, continually top of mind, and relevant to your customers.
This post is about giving you the courage to examine your brand image and unique value proposition. This should be a fascinating journey of discovery if you haven’t ventured into the topic of branding.
Markets and competition change. This is why 90% of businesses fail.
The Brand is King — Only if it’s Relevant
Your brand is the promise of value your customer sees and remembers. It’s reflected in everything from your customer service to your advertising to your web design. It’s the first impression prospects see and it’s the memory they take with them. So if your business is failing, your product/service is no longer relevant (is uncompetitive) or your brand promise has missed the moving target. Are you certain you know what your customer wants?
Your Brand and Your UVP
All businesses start with a statement of the unique value they will deliver to customers — why their business, product, service is relevant. This is your unique value proposition. It’s clear, compelling, personalized and even gives you a reason to believe. The UVP is also your brand promise. Your UVP is at the center of your branding which is how your UVP is packaged and communicated.
Your brand isn’t your logo or your web design. It is something very complex. It might help to view your brand image in terms of packaging. That helps with clarity, but with a business, your packaging is how your unique value proposition is put in context — presented as the clear choice for your target customer using images and words.
And in the era of social media, your brand or UVP is expressed in your Tweets, Linkedin comments, blog posts and comments, and Facebook posts along with your web page copy and design. Are you even doing social media? Traditionally, brands relied heavily on print ads and other graphical design strategies to get the brand value across. But with social media pages negating custom design, the brand value has to be communicated through your content. This is likely where your brand is failing. Your web and social media content may not suck, however they may not be presenting your brand promise effectively.
Brands Gone Bad
Traditional branding promotes consistency over years, but by the time that message is fully ingrained in the audience’s mind, the market has changed. All your patience is wasted time. We need to be on our toes and up to date.
How do brand’s go bad? They don’t keep up with the competition. Customers see that your product is aging or doesn’t have the new fancy designs they saw online; or they discover your staff aren’t knowledgeable or competent; or you’re not talking about all the latest events and trends they care about; or you don’t appear to want to deliver top value to them. It all comes through in how you package your communications.
Why Are You the Most Compelling and Relevant?
If you can’t answer that question, you’re in trouble. It’s so easy to go out of style and become irrelevant. And relevance is the key. Customer’s mindsets, perceptions and understanding change. They discover new types of value, new desires and expectations, and new alternatives. Their loyalty to you is minimal. Get over that. Relevance equals loyalty. So you create your own customer loyalty.
The imagery, stories, colours, style, context, and benefits must communicate a relevant promise. And today, brands need to be personalized. We endorse or recommend products and people because they’re personally relevant — they reflect our values, hopes, desires, preferences, and the importance of our experience. What shared values does your brand have with your target audience?
When you revitalize your brand, you reposition it to delight, surprise, satisfy and assure your prospect. A brand becomes most relevant when it:
- embodies the customer’s personal values and beliefs
- comes across as credible
- differentiates via the customers key decision points
- makes itself memorable by attaching itself to customers values and beliefs
- uses images and messages customers relate to right now
- is crystal clear about the benefits everything points to
What’s the Next Step?
This blog is all about progressive, leading edge thoughts on building a compelling, competitive, sustainable, and profitable business. Explore the topics and return often for more insight.
From creating your UVP and improving your personal brand image, to developing new business, exploring new markets, learning from failure, improving employee performance, to the more esoteric assets of being attractive and fascinating, I want to help you build a new era business.
If you’re truly hungry for survival and success, you’ll explore these topics.