Building a business starts with a business plan, followed closely with a mission statement and a vision. Yet a successful company knows that creating a brand is the primary driver for their networking, marketing and everyday business practice. The best example of a “brand” is “KLEENEX”. Kleenex is the company brand for tissues, yet if you ask for a Kleenex, everyone knows you are asking for a tissue. Mission and vision statement are important parts of the business plan as they offer focus on what a company wants to be or do. Branding encompasses the promise of functional and emotional benefits from the customer’s point of view. Thinking brand is different than thinking business. Branding focuses on setting yourself apart from the competition, creating a positive experience, and encompasses service that draws the customer back again and again.
The mission statement will outline an overall goal and the reason why a business exists. The vision statement gives a broad-based overview of the company’s purpose…the big picture. Branding looks at how the business wants the customer to feel…their ultimate experience in dealing with the business and specifically you.
In developing a brand, define your promise to the client. What business is your brand in? What makes your product and services different? Where does the value lie within the brand and company? These questions should be addressed within the company slogan, or your 30 second elevator speech. The clear-cut branding statement keeps your staff, clients, and prospects on the same page.
Brand name your company, products, stationary, services, processes, customer programs, your intellectual property, e-blasts, , etc. Everything must be in direct alignment with your branding statement. Your brand names provide traction for your clients and should not be disconnected, difficult or confusing. Focus the company on how the brand is perceived, how it is communicated, and how the company will continually move the branding and company forward.
Developing a slogan and logo can embrace a unique marketing opportunity which appears every time a potential customer encounters your logo identity. Your slogan articulates how your uniqueness, and distinctly differentiates you from your competition and should be part of the branding statement. Re/Max is distinctive as a real estate company….their logo and ads put them “Above the Crowd”. It’s still up to the individual Realtor® to brand themselves as to their unique selling points, area specialties, and specific customer service.
In branding yourself or your company consider who your customer base is. Can you define who your eight most enriching customers are and where can you find them? This has been referred to as Professional Referral Sources….those associated businesses to yours that may help develop a fluid source of leads and referrals. Mortgage, real estate, CPA’s, financial planners, title companies, human resources, insurance professionals all have the potential to become Professional Referral Sources for each other. They may or may not be your clients, but they are solid resources for potential clients.
What are you trying to tell people? Refine, refocus and find the magic. Put your buzz into your customer’s conversations. Make sure your messaging is persistent and consistent. Branding is the spark of genius, the magic you deliver systematically, without fail, to your customer. Branding plugs into and drives your marketing system.
Make it your goal to work on your brand. List all of the services that you do for a client and identify a brand name and slogan. Make your company buzz, set your company on fire with a branding statement, and focus on bringing your company and brand to the forefront.
Tom Ninness is Regional Sales Manager for New American Funding in Denver, CO. He is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the “The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success”, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. Learn more about The Journey and Summit Champions, at www.summitchampions.com or contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 303-840-0753.