Vive la difference!

Brand matters – to every business

It’s very difficult nowadays to come up with a product, service or solution that is totally new, truly unique and perceived by the prospect or customer to be the only solution to his or her problem. If you do manage to, you can bet your boots it won’t be long before the nub of your idea is copied and the competition is up and running and possibly undercutting your price too.

So how can you protect your business and profitably win, grow and keep your customers? You would have to be living well and truly in the dark ages not to have heard terms such as “mission”, “vision”, “brand value” and the like. Big corporations pay huge amounts of money developing the “brand” and equally vast amounts to lawyers if they think someone is infringing on it. The fact that you are not in the same league as BP, General Electric, IBM, Vodafone, Cisco et al shouldn’t put you off investigating what could be in this for you.

Maybe now would be a good time to do a bit of navel gazing and re-address what your company is all about, where it and you are at, where you want to be and how you intend to get there. None of this is new but it may have been a while since you’ve had the chance or inclination to do any strategic thinking.

How is your company different from your competition? Why should anyone choose to do business with you rather than any of your competitors? The way any company, regardless of size, positions its brand is fundamental to its ultimate success so it’s vital that you get it right.

One of the ways you can build genuine, enduring differentiation of your business brand is by giving it explicit core values, and endowing it with a distinctive and attractive personality that makes your customers think, for example, “I like these people. I know where I stand with them and they deliver their promise. They treat me like an intelligent individual, not some moron. They understand and care about my (business) needs and I can trust them.”

You must know who your main competitors are, so check out how they position themselves and develop a separate and unique position for your company and offering.

That’s logically when you should come up with a mission statement but, if you are going to have one, make sure it’s meaningful and believable. I know that sounds obvious but take a look around and see how many companies’ mission statements you would buy into. So take your time on this. Your vision (and the goals you set to attain it) may evolve but your mission statement is core to your company and remains constant. Test it out on your own people. You needn’t tell them that it’s your proposed mission statement; just ask for their opinion on how it sums up what your company is all about. Provided you’re not an overbearing egotist you’ll get candid feedback.

Once you have it right it is a prime weapon in your differentiation armoury and also doubles very nicely as an elevator pitch (a succinct and descriptive account of what your company does). If you want help with any of this just click on the link below. You’ll find “Build Firm Foundations”, a freely downloadable 4-part course, on the home page of the Selling For Business website.

Use the results of the suggested exercises to underpin all your sales and marketing communications and provide and build brand identity and consistency.

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