I know I’ve been getting up on my branding soapbox, but I can’t help it. I’ve become something of a branding geek, and I’m tired of seeing branding get the short end of the stick. I’m tired of seeing companies selling themselves short.
Time after time, branding gets passed over for shinier, brighter, snazzier baubles like social media, integration, and beautiful new websites. It’s not that I have anything against social media (total Twitter addict, here), integration (let’s come together!), or beautiful new websites (a picture is worth a thousand words … when it’s the right picture). BUT (and this is a big “but”) none of those things work without branding.
Sure, you can keep yourself busy and make a splash here and there. For a little while. You can add fancy widgets and plug-ins, join Google+, host a webinar, or launch a podcast. You can give your homepage a makeover and get yourself a flashy new logo. BUT – nothing will help you stand out in a crowded market like having something to say. And not just “something,” but something important, something different, something that resonates with your intended audience – shines out like a beacon across an ocean of me-too marketing ploys and been-there-done-that pitches.
Your brand is your ace in the hole. It’s the one thing no competitor can take away.
… So, why do so many companies gloss over the branding exercise or skip it all together?
I guide companies and individuals through this process all the time. I have a process. I have experience. I have a knack for pulling out the underlying stories and themes that come together to create branding magic. But no matter how many times I go through this experience, it’s still hard.
Getting to the core of something is never easy.
You have to push through a lot of superficial stuff. You have to ask questions … and more questions … and more questions. And then you have to find answers. You have to boil the whole thing down to a few bite-sized nuggets of clarity that cut through the noise and – zing! – hit your audience right between the eyes.
It’s hard, but it’s SO worth it.
Remember that cautionary tale I told you in part 1 of this series? I was a veritable poster child for operating without a brand. I was floundering from project to project without a cohesive story or sense of greater purpose. I didn’t stand for anything. AND – because I didn’t take the time to define it myself – other people were defining my brand for me.
That is NOT where you want to be.
My brand is still a work-in-progress, but getting clear about it is my number one business priority for 2013. I already know what I do. I do it every day. It’s time for me to say it out loud and let other people know it, too.
What about you?
Do you know what you stand for?
Are you willing to say it out loud?
Are you getting crystal clear about just HOW important nailing your brand is to the success of your business?
Are you prepared to do the work of crafting a strong brand that will draw customers to you like that beacon in the night?
Are you ready to unleash the magic of a well-crafted brand?
If you are, stick around. I will be sharing more branding resources and walking through my process in future blog posts.
Drop me an email and let me know what questions you have about discovering and building your brand.
And in the meantime, pop these questions on the back burner or your brain and let them simmer a while:
- What do you stand for? Give it to me in three words.
- What promise do you make to your customers? Be specific.
- What are your guiding principles? What’s non-negotiable?
- What’s your story really about?
Chew on that and I’ll see you on the other side.
You May Also Like:
- Branding is NOT Optional – Part 1: A cautionary tale
- Branding is NOT Optional – Part 2: Let them eat your dust
- Brand – What it is and the two-step process to building a great one
Image from Photobucket