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Are You Brand Worthy? Are You Brand Worthy?
Branding is a one hot topic, although it is wildly misunderstood. To make things even more confusing, branding is often tossed in the same basket as marketing which makes its application to an entrepreneur or sole-practioner even more unclear.
While out speaking on branding, the question that I hear most is "How do I know if my business or service is brand material?" With businesses opening left and right, and more and more closing each year, I'm glad there are smart business owners open to understanding the issue.
If you've found yourself asking the same thing, don't worry you're not alone. Perhaps, this can shed some light.
At a recent luncheon, the same question came up again in a different way. I was seated next to an attorney whose sole practice focuses on elder abuse cases, he asked me in rapid succession (a manner that showed me he'd be great in court):
"Isn't branding for businesses that make a lot of stuff?""Doesn't branding apply only if you want to sell a lot of stuff?""Isn't branding pointless for my kind of business?"
Smiling, I fired back, "yes, yes, and... no".
Yes, branding is most often associated with businesses that make a lot of stuff. Yes, branding is advantageous if you want to sell a lot of stuff. No, branding is not pointless because every business makes something (or offers a service) and wants to sell it. Branding is about making your product or service known to as many potential customers as possible, consistently, with the most effective use of your time and money. Branding is about repeat business. Branding is about effortless referrals. Wouldn't that be a benefit to ANY business, especially yours?
To help you gain more brand-worthy clarity, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I really passionate about what I am doing with my business, service or product? And I mean REALLY! If not, is there something more you can be doing in it to turn your passion switch on? It takes an amazing amount of energy and persistence to make a business take hold in the customer's mind. With more and more businesses competing for headspace, it's imperative that you set yourself apart. If you are not cooking with the fuel that passion gives you, you're missing out on a very crucial element that could mean the difference between thriving and closing.
2. Do I have a big vision of my business, service or product? Do you dream of reaching lots of customers in different ways with your product or service? Do you see a way to deliver your product or service to an increasing amount of people with less and less effort? Did you create a mindset or special approach in your field that can be delivered in a variety of mediums, i.e.- speaking, books, audio CDs, consulting, etc. Do you envision moving beyond an hour-for-hour way of providing your service? All of these support a big vision. , Not only do we begin from the inside out, when approaching your brand, we create from where you will be in five years as if it is now. Small vision does just that, keeps you small. The choice is always yours.
3. Is my product or service a real benefit to lots of customers? It's important that you answer this one as honestly and openly as possible. I was very passionate and had a huge vision for a career as a mime! (Yes, you read that correctly... a mime.) However, no amount of passion and vision would make people buy it on a large scale. Thanks to Marceau Marceau, the mime card had been played out. You may find that by being truthful with your answers will lead to branding even better products and services.
4. Am I prepared to surround myself with a team or the knowledge to accomplish the business success that developing my business as a brand delivers? The plus side of being an entrepreneur is that you may wear many hats in your business. The negative side is that you feel like you have to! The truth is, you don't! You're an expert in your field and you need to honor that expertise by supporting it with a variety of other skill sets to make your indelible mark; logo design, copywriting, website design, your marketing plan creation and execution, and others. The important thing is that you realize...you're in command...because it's your ship! And being a commander takes knowing where you want to go, gathering the maps to make the journey, and the crew to make it happen.
If your answers to these questions are yes, then you have the makings to develop your business as a brand. You just need the knowledge and practice to do so. If you're shaky on some of the questions, find out why. Even if you never develop your business as a brand, solid yeses to these simple questions will only make your business more successful and more enjoyable. After all, isn't that we all want?
© Castle Montone, Limited All Rights Reserved.
Written by Kim Castle, the Co-founder of BrandU? - the home of only step-by-step process for developing your business as a brand from the inside out!
To get information on upcoming BrandU one-day workshops: http://www.whybrandu.com/Public/events/workshop/index.cfm?semID=13
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"BrandU? - Big Business Success No Matter Your Size"
What Make Us Unique and Different
Starting a business can take a lot of time, money, and energy. And because we don't want to completely re-invent the wheel, we often want to copy (legally) other techniques, strategies or processes used by others. While copying others has many benefits, namely using tried and true methods as well as saving time and money, the true success of your business will come from your own uniqueness.
The Trust Issue In Marketing
One of the prime motivating factors in the purchase decision making process is "trust". A consumer will at some point for however long or short of a time, ask the question, "Can I trust this company/person/product?"
Brand Building 201: Finding The Ideal Way
The strongest and longest lasting brands branch off of anexisting category. Branching takes patience and time.There are two speeds for launching a brand, each one withits own pros and cons.
What About Me? What You Need To Know About Me-Marketing
What about me? Are you asking yourself this question? If not you should be. Don't wait until you are in crisis mode when you are losing your job or your business before you think "what about me?"
How a Great Tagline can Help your Business
"Just do it." "We try harder." "The Ultimate Driving Machine." "Be all that you can be." Taglines are one of the best ways of branding a product, service, company, or organization for years. Like these:
Putting You and Your Company in Position to Own Your Market
Americans have always liked their coffee hot. But then Starbucksmade hot coffee desirable, in demand, and extraordinarilyprofitable. And then Starbucks made coffee "cool" with itssuper-popular iced Frappucino drink -- just as trendy,fashionable, and universally appealing.Starbucks is no doubt one of the greatest marketing stories ofrecent history. How this company turned an unassuming beverageinto an icon of sophistication and taste is no mystery, however.It's all about a marketing tenet called positioning.The coffee company started out in Seattle's Pike Place market in1971 as a single gourmet coffee shop, and by 1995, the chain'searnings were $26.1 million. Marketing experts agree thatStarbucks' skyrocket to fortune centers on its aesthetic sense.In other words, the public's perception of Starbucks has to dowith how it appreciates this company's style. Sure, Starbucksfilled a need and created unique product brands, but whatattracts coffee drinkers again and again is the experience ofthe Starbucks environment and its products. Smooth,sophisticated, artistic: These are seductive qualities even fora business based on a little brown bean.The Starbucks story illustrates at least two powerful marketingprinciples. Both help us to better understand effectivepositioning, or the process of finding a "place" for ourselvesin people's minds:People buy for their own reasons, not anyoneelse's.The stronger position is found in the experience, outcome,or benefit you provide as opposed to the methods you use forproducing those outcomes.Starbucks shows us that it's not about packaging -- it's aboutpositioning. The environment of Starbucks creates an experiencethat invites us to come study for exams, hang out andphilosophize with friends, or get the day started with a warmcup of java and the morning news. Starbucks is an invitation tolinger, not just get your coffee and go.When you are assessing your own position and considering how youmight improve your image and thus your market share, rememberthat there are essentially four winning positions: better,different, faster, or cheaper. You can certainly positionyourself as one of these, perhaps even two; capturing a positionas three of them is tough and probably not desirable, andcornering all four is just about impossible.Not everyone is up to the task of creating another Starbucks.It's tempting, with price wars so rampant, to believe that aperception of being cheapest is easiest to establish. Yet intruth this is the most difficult because of fixed costs. It'slike doing the limbo: you can go only so low, and then you'reoverextended or flat on your back. Definitely not the easiestposition to be in.How about being better instead? Contrary to popular belief, thisis perhaps the easiest position to take, since making animprovement or simply creating the impression of greater qualityor ability has no constraints. One tip: when you capture thedifferent category, you may get the better category as aby-product.Starbucks capitalized on this technique, as did Dennis Rodman,the oddball of basketball. He came up with a way to take twopositions in fans' eyes: both different and better. Okay, maybehe wasn't actually better than his teammate Michael Jordan, whowas unbeatable, but certainly he was perceived for a time asbetter (cooler, trendier) among those who were captivated by hisstyle. His fashion and fascinating antics made him so unique thathe became unforgettable. And because he was also an excellentball handler, he became famous and highly regarded in hissport.BMW has also taken the better-different approach. Until fairlyrecently, Mercedes-Benz had the better luxury car market sewnup, so BMW -- a competitor with a parity product -- simplyrepositioned itself. Its tag, "the ultimate driving machine,"appeals to a younger crowd and gives them luxury with power andhandling. This is "hip luxury," which is different from theMercedes position, which could be summed up as "elegant luxury."And voilà: BMW became as hot and desirable as a cappucino on awintry morning.BMW marketers had both a strong sense of the position theywanted to hold and precisely defined their premium clients, thecréme de la créme within their target market. You can do this,too. Once you've figured out what position you can successfullygain in your business, ask yourself the following.Who is my premium client? Who would be the most enjoyableand rewarding to serve?What are this client's unique desires, needs, andchallenges? How can I best serve this client?What do I (or can I) provide in a unique way to help myclients achieve their business outcomes?How can I position myself as an expert in this market?With this information, you can tailor your marketing efforts --everything you say to people, any support materials you use,even the way you dress and act -- directly to this audience tohelp establish your position. This is the first step to "owningyour market."Positioning is like popularity: You have to be seen in the rightplaces and with the right people. This is more than socialclimbing: You learn more about your clients and they learn moreabout you when you frequent the same places, attend the samefunctions, join the same associations, be published in theirperiodicals, and develop products and services specifically forthem.Positioning is as much about who you are not as it is about whoyou are. Starbucks is not a cheaper and faster cuppa joe; it isan upscale, gourmet coffee experience. BMW is no old-styleluxury; it is stylish performance. Dennis Rodman is no gentlemanforward; he is the outrageous, extreme athlete who is arecognized celebrity even for people who don't know basketballfrom billiards.Do you want to win big? If so, have the courage to answer thesequestions clearly and define your own game: Who are you? Who areyou not? Who are your clients? These are the essential decisionsyou must make if you want to not only understand but own yourmarket.
Optimize Your Mailing List For Better Results
A list of customers who have previously bought from you is your most important asset. These are the customers who will provide you with return business, which is more profitable than the first sale. Are you getting the most from your customer list? There are some secrets you should know, so you can squeeze the most benefits out of your mailing list.
Create a Niche: Stoke Your Market With Affiliate Branding
Propose success, demand performance, and brand your market with appeal. In a world of costly business start-ups, expensive design tools, and rugged competition you can still beat the system. Success reins the process as our instructional tools are put to use building websites centered on content with focused keywords and performance.
FTC Reviews The Franchise Rule
After more than a decade since the last attempt to update the 1970's Franchise Rule The Federal Trade Commission is at it again. May I ask why we are looking at reviewing these rules for franchising, where no problems exist? Why we are looking to tighten up ambiguities, which over time have occurred in this sector, when we should be dismantling the over regulations choking the industry? Why we are trying make rules upon rules, where no rules are needed since no problem really exits? Why can't we use the red magic marker approach and start drawing lines thru massive amount meaningless dribble required in these disclosure documents?
How Will Your Visitors Remember You And Your Business? Brand Yourself From The Crowd...
Big and Yellow 'M' reminds you McDonalds... 'DELL' with oblique E reminds you famous 'Dell' computers...
Britney Spears Branding
How would you like to sell as much in one year as Britney sells in one day or in one hour? Have you put much thought into how marketing empires are created? If you're selling anything then you're a marketer and you should study the biggest successes to follow in their footsteps.
Branding Article: Pepsis Missed Brand Opportunity
I love Pepsi. It's that slightly sweeter taste and the all-American logo combined with the non-conformist statement that, well, it's not Coke.
Brand Warfare is More of a War than You Think
We will discuss Brand Marketing for a minute. In this discussion we would like to talk about brand line extension and how to do it correctly. First we are not sure if you have been looking in the grocery stores lately, but you might have been noticing some very interesting things amongst America's top selling brands, this has been increasing for about the last 5-years. For instance look at GE Light bulbs sometime. They have not only the original light bulb that GE is known for they now have; Soft Pink, Crystal Clear, Original, Standard, Miser (The energy saving light bulb), and of course Party Light Bulbs in colors of yellow, red, green, blue, and orange.
How A Crazy Branding Stunt Can Bring Results For Years
As a beginner, you would be forgiven for thinking that marketing is simply advertising your product or service, how wrong you are.
10 Secrets for Free Media Placement
Why pay a high priced PR agent when you can get free media placement to promote your product, service, or book?
Blonds Have More Fun!
In the book, The Blond Knight of Germany, American authors Toliver and Constable detail the life of the greatest fighter pilot to ever fly, Germany's Erich Hartmann. During WWII, Hartmann recorded 352 confirmed in-flight victories. To put it into perspective, very few American fighter pilots reached 100 in-flight victories. Simply put, Erich Hartmann reached levels of greatness most fighter pilots can only dream about.
Company Vehicles Have Advertising on Them; Tips on Driving in Parking Lots
Try to avoid backing up whenever possible. Occasionally some one in a small car will park directly behind you at a gas station or stop sign. They will be parked so evenly that you won't see them. This is why the telephone company and most large cable companies require drivers to put a cone behind their vehicle whenever they park their vehicles. It gets the driver in the habit of checking behind the vehicle since he has to get out and pick up the cone. You might also take a peak before you get in and drive away, especially if you are backing up. One day you will be glad you did.
Its Time For Some Steak
Recently, I was reviewing our website statistics. One of the sites that had a link to mine caught me by surprise. Since this is a family publication, I won't include the name of the website. But, let's just say it contains a four-letter word that people do not use in most business circles.
Value-pricing Strategy: Were not The Cheapest but...
In this highly competitive online marketplace, it can be difficult to persuade customers to buy from you when you offer a similar product to your opposition but with a higher price tag. And trying to beat competitors on price alone is a cut-throat business, very risky and not recommended. It attracts bargain hunters ready to defect to competitors for a better deal.
Brand Your Name!
Have you ever thought about branding your name? Does the idea sound too egotistical for you or does it make good business sense? Let's examine personal name branding and how it can help you achieve the recognition you need for your business and put you quickly on the path to success!
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