It's possible that when you think of brand, what comes to mind is a company's logo or an image that represents them. You may also think of a particular tag line.
For example, if you heard me say, "Just Do It," Nike would instantly pop into your mind. Or, if I said, "The Ultimate Driving Machine," you'll likely think of a BMW commercial.
As it relates to your business, your logo and your tagline do play an important role, however the most important part of your brand is actually YOU. Your brand has to be reflective of who you are and the services and products that you offer.
So, what are you known for? Why do clients come to you? How do you make a difference in their lives? This is the key!
Over time, your business will change and grow, but your brand has to stay relevant and fresh. This means that what you are known for has to be pertinent to your target market. Let me give you my personal example. I started my company as a virtual marketing implementer. Today, I no longer am the technician for my clients. I simply teach them how to strategically and consistently use marketing to increase their profits. Now, I'm known for "teaching smart, simple marketing" strategies to my clients instead of "implementing" for them. My brand has evolved over the years to reflect how I serve my clients and the value I create for them.
Take McDonald's as an example of a business who continues to refresh its brand as it adapts to changes in the fast food industry. When I was a kid, I remember the representative of Micky Ds to be a smiley faced, gentle clown by the name of Ronald. Since the days of my pre-teen years, McDonald's has grown into a worldwide entity. When was the last time you saw Ronald and his pals running around in those big, silly costumes either in person or on television?
Catch my drift? McDonald's has adjusted with the times and has kept its brand relevant and fresh as it continues to dominate the fast food industry.
You of course are not a global conglomerate like Micky Ds, but the importance of BE-ing your brand still applies. When you are marketing your business, your prospective clients instantly develop an opinion about YOU and what you are offering. If they feel that they can trust your brand, or YOU, they will likely work with you to solve the problems that they are facing.
What should you do then to make sure that you stand out from the crowd of businesses who offer the exact same services and products that you do? BE your brand and stand apart from the pack.
Pinpoint Your Unique Selling Proposition
If there are 100 competitors who serve the same target market as you, how can you separate yourself from them? You will need to highlight your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This is the substance of your business and personality that makes you different from those 100 or even 1,000 competitors.
Just like your fingerprint and dental imprint, there is not another person who has ever lived that can offer what you do in the way that you do it.
So, what makes you unique? It's a combination of your interests, passion, experience, education and your big WHY. It's the reason WHY you started your business in the first place. Do you see why no one else can match who you are and what you have to offer?
Don't be shy about this important position that you hold in the market place. You have made your mark and are here to stay. Your brand has already benefitted your previous clients. Continue to stand alone as the one who can serve your industry like no other person.
Think for a moment about the alternative. If you do not stand out and accept your exclusive gifts and make them known, what choice do you have other than to wave the white flag and allow your competition to scoop up potential business away from you? Do you want that to be your reality? Of course not!
Another critical piece of identifying your USP is to accentuate the benefits that your clients receive from working with you. Remember, as service professionals we are really problem solvers. We are experts at taking our clients from challenge to solution. The folks who are considering hiring you need to be able to see clearly what you have done for others.
If you would like more in-depth data on the results you create, be sure to talk to your previous clients. Of course, you need to talk to your BEST clients. Ask them why they came to you in the first place? Why they chose you and how did you help them to increase their income, improve their health, save more time or avoid a catastrophic problem? The answers to these questions are the EXACT words you want to use to convey the value of what you offer.
This information lends more credence to your USP. It proves that you ARE truly remarkable and one-of-a-kind. Trusting that you truly are unique and generously expressing how you make a difference in the lives of others will ensure that your brand is fresh and relevant.
I encourage you to "BE" more you. "BE" your brand. Walk it. Talk it. Live it. This is ultimately why your clients will hire you. It is because you are confident in who you are and in what you have to offer them.
The more "YOU" you infuse into your brand the more effective your marketing will be. The more effective your marketing is, the more clients you enroll. The more clients you enroll, the more profitable and successful your business is.
Your Action Plan For This Week:
- List 5 aspects of your business that make you different from your competitors.
- List 5 benefits that your clients receive from working with you.
- List 5 things that people compliment you on about your business or personality.
- Incorporate the 15 things that you've gathered into all of your marketing materials.
Sydni Craig-Hart, The Smart Simple Marketing Coach, is founder of SmartSimpleMarketing.com. Known for her easy, strategic and results-focused approach to marketing, she also has the unique ability to find untapped profit centers in her client's businesses so they can create money NOW. Visit www.SmartSimpleMarketing.com for your FREE kit, "5 Simple Steps to More Clients, More Visibility and More Freedom" and apply for a FREE "Profit Breakthrough" session with Sydni!