Entrepreneurs and small business owners often assume that because they have a product or service that they also have a brand. While the two ideas, may certainly cross paths in the minds of your customers, there is a clear line of distinction that separates one from the other. The product, service, good or idea that you sell is something tangible that your customer can see or touch and that you have control over.
Your brand, on the other hand, is made up of a series of intangible experiences that you can direct, but do not have complete control over. To quote those who have said it best, “Your brand is what others say about you, not what you say about you.” Things like names, logos, colors and marketing messages, help shape how your customers perceive your brand, but at the end of the day, the interpretation is really up to your customers.
Key Brand Attributes
You may be asking yourself, “How can I be sure to get my brand right when there are so many unknowns and variables?” Having a brand expert on your side can certainly help, but there are also certain attributes you can aim for when developing brand assets to help shape your customer’s experience and ensure your brand is unique.
- Memorable – Is it recognizable and easily recalled?
- Meaningful – Is it descriptive and persuasive?
- Likable – Is it interesting, rich, and aesthetically pleasing?
- Transferable – Is it transferable across product, regional and cultural boundaries?
- Adaptable – Is it flexible and updatable?
- Protectable – Is it a registered trademark and uniquely competitive in the market?
Asking yourself these questions will help you ensure your brand is well rounded and start you on the path to developing a solid brand image. It may sound extreme, but ultimately, the impact of a well-developed brand can mean the difference between business success and business failure, so it’s important to take the time to think it through carefully.
So, Is a brand really that important?
Pretend, for a minute, that you are an expert baker and love all things pastry. You have decided to take your passion from a hobby and create a business. You are so excited to begin your business that you set up a shop right away, hired employees and had a big sign made for your storefront to read Sue’s Macaroons. Surely, this will be great!
Unfortunately, even though you worked hard to ensure you tested your recipes to perfection and hired great employees, business was slow and did not take off the way you had hoped. In all the excitement to launch your business you forgot to consider some key aspects of your brand’s image.
For one, the font you chose for your sign out front was difficult to read (even though you thought it was super chic), making it confusing for your customers what you actually sold and hard for them to recall your name. You also did not consider that two blocks over, one of your competitors had an existing store sign with a very similar logo (did they get theirs from Fiverr too?) You chose the color blue because it is your favorite, but customers have a hard time distinguishing you from your competitor. Plus, the female demographic you were trying to target seems unresponsive to the direct mail marketing you have been sending out with funny messages you developed yourself.
These are just a few of the issues you might run into if you don’t take the time to consider your brand and how it affects your business. So the answer to the question? Yes, it really is that important! Hopefully this simple example can begin to show why your brand deserves just as much attention as any other aspect of your business.
I help female entrepreneurs and business owners create brands that command the spotlight. I love working with women to help them create beautiful, one-of-a-kind brands that give them the confidence to take their business to the next level and get them seriously noticed. I’ve worked with coaches, authors, influencers… you name it, and I bet I can help you too.