At a National Speakers Association annual convention I saw Bruce Turkel speak on ‘How to Really Build a Compelling Brand…Really’. In his seven steps to a powerful brand, the first bullet point states: “It’s all about them.” Apparently the number one mistake that companies make when establishing their brand is to focus on themself. Specifically, they talk about who they are and what they offer.
A truly strong brand, however, is about the consumer.
What? Ok, this makes sense, but it conflicts with what I do.
In assisting small business owners to identify their brand, I spend hours with them creating business clarity by discovering who their company is and what it stands for. Is Bruce telling me that what I do is not valid? If so, then one of us must be wrong.
I tend to believe Bruce since he has around three decades of branding experience and owns a prestigious branding company. And yet, I have incontrovertible proof from seeing the results achieved by small business owners who have attended my branding workshop that being clear on who you are, what you stand for, and what you do improves your brand image immeasurably. So, I don’t believe I’m wrong either. But, how can we both be right?
During the conference, my friend Courtney brought up the same question. Hmmm, I was not alone in my musings. As we ate and talked, clarity arrived. Neither Bruce nor I are wrong. In fact, we are both correct.
Understanding and identifying your brand is all about you. Once you have business clarity about the four elements of your brand - your vision, mission, values, and operating guidelines – it is easier to create a marketing message that is clear and consistent. And then you are ready to make it all about them.
See, if you attempt to make it all about them before you are clear, instead of creating a brand that is consistent and memorable, you will become a chameleon. Today you will be blue, tomorrow you may be red, and a day later chartreuse. This path leads straight towards your company being indescribable and a weak brand.
Think about the best brands in the market place. Some notable ones are Nike and Starbucks. Not everyone is attracted to these brands. However, those who are attracted are loyal customers. I don’t even drink coffee and I am a loyal Starbucks fan. Why? It’s about the way I am treated, the quality of the food, the relaxing atmosphere when I meet people or hang out, and yes, the chai tea lattes. They have made it all about me. But first they became very clear about who they are.
Ironically, spending the time to clearly identify your brand enables you to stop thinking about yourself and begin concentrating on them. How clear are you on your brand? What can you do today to become so clear that it’s easy to make it all about them, and still be true to your brand?
Have a great day!