Before I begin to delve into “Why every business should have a brand”, a little personal case study:
My dad’s a self-employed electrician. He’s done the job for something like 40 years and he has no need for any new clients, because the ones he has are repeat and loyal customers who will see him through to retirement. He doesn’t need a website, he doesn’t need business cards. Word of mouth gets him enough business off the back of his outstanding reputation. My dad, as he has told me time and time again, “doesn’t want or need a brand”.
The thing is, he already has one, he just doesn’t realise it! Brand is more than a logo, a catchy name, a website, or a set of pretty stationery items… My dad’s brand is the set of standards and values he represents: reliability, quality work, fair price, and decades of experience.
So, why should every business have a brand?
Because it’s going to secure your future, build your business and create a strategy for success.
Any business, of ANY size – from one-(wo)man-bands to multinational corporations – can reap the benefits of a brand strategy. If you have nothing else, a brand strategy is going to enable you to find fans and advocates, help you employ the right people, keep you on a true and authentic path, allow your customers to build trust in your business and keep them coming back for more.
Brand strategy is made up of the following things:
Who you are, what you do, and how you do it.
In marketing speak, these things could be termed as;
- Business values
- Business goals / targets
- Planned actions
I’ve broken them down a little so that you can start thinking about how a brand strategy might boost your business;
These are the things that define who you are. Values should be steadfast and long-term if your customers are going to learn to trust them. It could be that you are mindful of the environment in all you do, perhaps you strive to support people in hard to access areas, maybe it is important that your business is always affordable. Whatever it is it has to be authentic and true. Don’t be tempted into buzzwords or things you think you “should” be. Think of your values as the foundation blocks of everything you do. They are what you will become known for – your “brand essence” – and are the basis of your reputation. All of your actions as a business will uphold them, reinforce them and allow you build trust.
Business goals / targets
These are the things you want to do. In my dad’s case; provide electrical services of a type that gains a loyal customer base, so that he can sail through to retirement without worrying about “the next job”. My dad’s example is quite a straightforward one, but you might have long-term and short-term goals as well as the overall “ideal” outcome of your efforts. Write them all down and you will have the target for your strategy.
Everything you do as a business should uphold your values and drive you closer to your goals. Bringing the two together in everything you do will be your brand strategy in action. Having your goals and values defined will help you to be consistent in your messages and interactions and present you as a united business. Whether you’re one person or 1000+ employees, you will all be inhabiting the same idealogy. You are now also able to make a plan! What are you going to make sure you do to achieve your goals? And how will you make sure you always have your values at the very heart?
Once you have a brand strategy, you might want to think about things such as a logo, a refocused website, and other bits and pieces that can really bring a great brand strategy to life and push things to the next level. If you feel you would like to discuss any creative branding services with me – why not get in touch?