If I asked you to name a recognizable brand, what would you say? You might mention Coke or Pepsi. Home Depot or Lowe’s. Walmart or Target.

But what about local brands? In Cleveland, Melt and the Winking Lizard are two
restaurants that do a great job promoting their brand.

I mention these local brands because we can’t make the mistake of thinking large, multi-national corporations with big budgets are the only companies who can have a recognizable brand.

Building your brand is critically important to the success of your business, no matter how large or small you might be. Consider these stats:

  • 75% of consumers cite brand awareness as a major influencer when making buying decisions
  • 85% of consumers choose a known brand over an unknown brand
  • 12 to 15% of customers are loyal to a single brand BUT those 12 to 15% generate nearly 70% of sales for a company

What is a brand?

There’s a lot of misconception about what a brand is. Most people think it’s simply a logo or a tagline. But a brand is much more than that. A brand includes:

  • The visual graphics
  • The written (and spoken) message
  • The emotions people have about a company

And loyalty to a brand can be a very emotional thing. Think about a time when you were let down by a company. Maybe you went to your favorite restaurant to order your favorite salad. When it arrived, they used the wrong salad dressing or they forgot the cheese. If you were really looking forward to that salad, you’re probably pretty upset!

Feeling let down by a company is unfortunate, but it’s a major part of how you perceive a company and its brand.

Are you causing brand confusion?

As business owners, we have to ask ourselves if we’re giving the customer an experience that will build our brand. And more importantly, does every customer have that same experience?

Remember, consumers are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages each day. You’re either building your brand, or you’re diluting it.

How to build your brand?

Building a brand is not something that can be done overnight. There are many nuances to a company’s brand that can take years to uncover and develop.

As you work toward building a clear brand, consider the six questions below. We use them to help clients become clear about their value proposition, which in turn helps them develop their brand.

As you answer these questions, think like your ideal customer. Consider what would be meaningful to them.

  • What do you do (not how)?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • Why are you the right and safe choice?
  • What do you do better than anyone else in your industry?
  • Why is that important to me?
  • Why buy from you?

Not easy, right? Consider these questions when they are answered for a local salon and spa.

What do you do?

We pamper men and women so they look better and feel more relaxed.

What’s in it for me?

You (the customer) deserve to feel good about yourself

Why are you the right and safe choice?

We know there are hundreds of spas in this community. We’re the right and safe choice because we offer a money back guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied, we’ll fix it.

What do you do better than anyone else in your industry?

No other salon and spa in this area offers a particular massage technique that we feature.

Why is that important to me?

We all lead crazy, hectic lives. It’s important to invest some time into yourself for your health and well-being.

Why buy from you?

We have many satisfied customers who can vouch for our outstanding services. (Insert testimonials on your website, print materials, etc…)

These are pretty basic answers, but you get the idea. If you plan to offer a money back guarantee, think about how you’ll incorporate that into your process. Now you are building the foundation of a brand that customers will start to recognize and connect with.

Some companies have done such a good job developing their brand that they can boil it down to one word.

Toyota: Reliability

Mercedes: Prestige

BMW: Driving

Volvo: Safety

I know that every Super Bowl commercial I see for BMW will be about driving.

Could you boil down your brand into one word?

A thought about repetition

We were working with a client who made a wise observation. During the past few years, a variety of graphics and key messages had been used in print and on the internet – there was little consistency to the message being communicated.

As we were developing the new “look and feel” of the brand, one of their employees made a good observation: although finding the right colors and key messages were important, the thing that would make the biggest difference was commitment and repetition to a singular message.

When you select the visuals, graphics and customer experience for your brand, stick to it! If you’re changing it every year, you’ll never be able to build a recognizable brand.

Have more questions about how to build your brand? Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!

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