Back in Mayberry, it was enough to stock an interesting item in inventory or simply hang out a shingle stating your service offering. The chances were good you’d get at least one shot to make the customer happy, and if you delivered on your promise you were officially in business. The only thing that stood between you and business success was another provider setting up shop. Well, we’re not in Mayberry anymore.
Today’s customers have the world at their fingertips when it comes to choosing goods and services. And as their choices have expanded, their attention spans have contracted to deal with the volume of information coming their way.
Time and science have joined to teach us that the most effective way to reach new customers in a landscape literally packed with choices is through a compelling brand. To succeed in business today, you have to understand that the “idea” of your business is the single most important factor working for your success.
Price won’t necessarily do it when you’re competing with China.
Location means less to fingers on a keyboard.
A massive inventory can’t go toe-to-toe with free delivery.
Most of the old assumptions about how to get ahead in business have had to make way for the new reality: customers need something more than the standard offerings to capture their attention and their time. Multiple studies have shown this to be true. This is a fact. This is not fake news.
That’s where your brand comes in. You must understand that your sales force is selling more than widgets and service packages; they’re selling your brand. They’re selling the “notion” of your business, the “feeling” of the transaction, the “sense” of the value imparted.
Some business owners, perhaps the more creative and artistically-inclined in the group, understand this concept already. For them, business has always been about feelings and connection with customers. To these business owners, embracing a brand identity for their business is something they’ve probably been doing for years without even realizing it. If they’ve been successful in business, chances are they’ve already done a good job establishing and promoting their brand intuitively.
But for most business owners the realization of the importance of a brand identity comes as a shock, maybe even as an insult. The thinking for these folks goes something like this: “So, what…it’s not enough that I bust my tail every day running this business, dealing with everything I’ve got going on, keeping the lights on, making payroll, whatever else pops up? You’re telling me I’ve got to stop and think about how this all ‘feels’?”
Well, the short answer is, “Yes”.
That’s the truth of business today. You might manage to keep the lights on by running things the way they ran 50 years ago, but if you want to grow your business you’ve got to promote your brand.
If you want to establish and support your brand, you need to consider a brand strategy. This is the process of stopping everything long enough to look at the entire system of your business, the operation from top to bottom, the way it works, what it delivers on the surface, and what it delivers on a deeper level. Then with that information in mind, the job becomes claiming and naming those things you do well, those intangible services you provide, and working toward getting that message across to your customers every day.
Your values, your commitments, your attitude…these all become the “secret sauce” that sets your business apart from the competition and forms the foundation of your brand.
And it is your brand that will connect with customers when price, location, and availability are all pretty much the same.
About Hallaron Advertising Agency
Marcus Dunaway is the Senior Copywriter at Hallaron Advertising Agency in The Woodlands, Texas. The agency works closely with clients, divining advertising strategy and implementing effective, award-winning campaigns. More than just an idea shop, Hallaron is a full-service agency focused on increasing our client’s sales using TV, radio, mobile, Web, outdoor, and social media.
2002 Timberloch Place, Suite 420, The Woodlands, Texas 77380