The BIG Branding Question — Brand Loyalty, Part 2

The end goal is brand loyalty. But you can’t take advantage of loyalty if you don’t know who you are. Al and Laura Ries, father/daughter authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding say

In the long run a brand is nothing more than a name.”

Your name stands for something. It’s your name that tells your audience who you are and what you offer. And it doesn’t happen automatically. Mr. and Ms. Ries believe that

In the short term, a brand needs a unique idea or concept to survive…to be first in a new category…to own a word in the mind….[But] in the long term, the unique idea or concept disappears. [And] all that is left is the difference between your brand name and the brand names of your competitors.”

In other words, your name comes to represent all that makes you difference and relevant. Which leads us to one core branding question.

The BIG Question: Who are you? Brand loyalty depends on it.

If you don’t know who you are as a brand, you could end up with a scattered image, a scattered message and a scattered audience. And every successful business needs an audience, preferably focused and dedicated. Now, back to the BIG question:

Who are you?

In other words,

  1. what does your name represent?
  2. what do you do for people?
  3. what do you offer?
  4. what are the solutions that you provide?
  5. what’s your mode of delivery?
  6. what’s your style?

All of this information plays into the answer of who you are as a brand and what your unique personality brings to the table. Of course the big issue among small business powerhouses and creative leaders is a general lack of understanding of what this unique positioning really is.

It’s not about the words that make you feel special.

It’s about the difference that your audience sees and responds to. The difference that they begin to identify in you. A difference that benefits their life in some way. Without this difference — the difference that your name will come to represent — you can’t create brand loyalty because your audience has nothing to hold onto. Loyal to what? A scattered image? A scattered message? A scattered solution?

Let’s get to the bottom of the big question with two smaller ones.

What do you offer as a brand? And how do you deliver your solution?

Brand loyalty is all about solutions and style.

So let’s make a list.

1). The Solution — What do you offer as a brand?

When people think of you what comes to mind? What kinds of problems are you known for solving? People come to you when they need help with what? What is the work that you do in your business? What do you build? What do you fix? What do you make? What is the solution that you provide?

If you make cars, then you provide transportation. But you can’t stop there, because a van service that picks up the elderly for weekly grocery store runs provides transportation. And so does the private airline that flies the jet setter from one end of the planet to the next. They’re all providing transportation.

BMW distinguishes themselves in how they provide transportation. They are known for the driving experience.  They are so clear about who they are, that they use it in their tagline: BMW — the ultimate driving machine. They don’t just provide transportation. BMW provides a specific experience behind the wheel.

2). The Style — How do you deliver your service?

Let’s take another look at the Al and Laura Ries comment,

In the long run a brand is nothing more than a name.”

This car company has developed brand loyalty. However, the people who love to drive this particular car, do not say,

I need a new ultimate driving machine.”

They say,

I want a new BMW.”

The name stands for something in the minds of their target audience. The idea behind the brand becomes what the name represents.

It’s not just about what you offer as a brand (transportation). It’s about how you do it (the ultimate driving machine).

When you make these two lists, it will be wordy in the beginning. But keep playing with the language behind your solution and the language behind your style. You’re on your way to clarity. You’re defining your brand so that your audience has something to be loyal to. And you if you still need help with this step, then sign up for the Strategy Blocks so we can go deeper.

Remember, brand loyalty doesn’t just happen. It’s a process. And defining your personal brand is step #2 in our Brand Loyalty Process. If you chose to complete this step, then good job. And if you need a little more help, then talk soon. — Ms.J

On The Road To Brand Loyalty — The Power of The Personal Brand

B-BRAND — Who Are You?

In this new economy the personal brand has power. It can help you secure a new job or save your current position, if that’s what you want. In fact, you don’t have to stop there. If your personal brand is strong enough, it can help you build and expand a business.

Before we go on, let’s remember the end goal — brand loyalty. Of course, you cannot establish brand loyalty if you don’t know who you are.

You can pretend to be somebody else — maybe imitate Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Maya Angelou, Jackie O — but when you do that you rob your brand of authenticity. I don’t care how good your impersonation is you’re missing out by faking.

However, when your personal brand is you, when it carries core elements of who you really are, then it’s easier to live up to it.

What makes you unique in your industry?

The goal is to discover your authentic difference. You will stand out and it will be something that you can live up to.

Your life is about being bold enough to be your best self. It just turns out that this is the power position for both marketing and living.

Do you code webpages and recite poetry? Do you detail cars by day and become a fashion diva at night? Are you that organized managerial type who also has a healthy creative and design mind? Those dichotomies make you different, don’t run from them, discover them.

Remember, you cannot create brand loyalty without a clear brand — for yourself and your business.

Brand loyalty begins with you.

You can choose to build a brand where you hide the person that’s behind the business, but you’re giving yourself extra work. And why do that when you can build a business with a personal brand that you believe in.

Your personal brand matters, because people want to know other people. And being professional is not the same thing as being cold and distant.

It’s time to get clear about what you represent and how that benefits your audience. Getting clear about who you are and your personal brand will make it easier to design a business that you enjoy running.

Think about it, why would you leave a day job just to create a company that you hate? That’s not a good look when it comes to building a dream life.

That’s it for now, but you can find more on this in Chapter 25 of When Women Become Business Owners.

Talk soon, Ms.J

Who Needs Effective Communication? 7 Ways To Kill The Message

98Change is hard. So skip it. And let other people just deal with it. Here are seven tips to help you create an effective mess of your communication.

Have fun.

1. Play “The-Same-Game”

To insure that your communication never improves, make it your business to stay exactly the same. In addition to that, assume that all communication issues between you and others is somebody else’s fault. And then argue that person down into the ground like your life depends on it. [Read more…]

Traveling Light? Then Pack Your Core Marketing Message First

If marketing is a journey, then it’s time to learn how to travel light. And that begins with packing your core marketing message and knowing just where to take it and when to get there.

Let’s play with this metaphor for a minute.

No matter the scope of your marketing strategy — whether you travel to a big city or quaint little town — television, radio, internet, and print are the neighborhoods you can visit on your journey [Read more…]

The Secret Weapon To Finding Your Marketing Message

Every superhero has powers.

Some are more obvious than others. But when a situation becomes sticker than usual, the hero has another level to pull from.

Well, if you have the guts to build your own brand, then you have a few hero qualities of your own.

And you’ll need one in particular. [Read more…]