Are you undermining brand?
Maybe you’re focusing more on your product than on your customers. Maybe you’re telling your customers too much about your process and not enough about their end result. Maybe you’re overemphasizing your commitment to your customers. (Yes… that can be a bad thing.)
Products, processes, and commitments all seem like essential components to your brand…
But they’re not.
When it comes to developing an effective brand, you have to be careful what you emphasize.
A strong brand focuses on perceptions, promises, promotion, and passion. When you understand the importance of these four truths, you’ll be ready to take your brand to the next level.
Truth #1: Creativity Trumps Functionality
Your creativity is more important than how you do something.
This is a counter-intuitive truth to most of us because we’re gear-heads. In our industry, we have a lot of left-brain thinking people. We thrive on knowing how things work.
But we’re not talking about the right widget for the application. We’re talking about branding.
In branding, creativity always trumps functionality. Think of it in terms of focusing on customers verses focusing on products.
It’s hard to creatively focus on products.
But you can creatively focus on customers.
When you take the customers’ point of view, you’ll focus on customer experience rather than how things work. The conversation we want to have with customers and prospects is how they will use your company. Adopt phrases like: “This is how my best customers use us,” and “Our best customers see us as this and allow us to do these things for them.”
It’s not the “how” but the “what” that’s important in branding.
Truth #2: Customers Buy Aspirational Performance
Your brand should also help customers see what they could be. Customers buy aspirational performance. They look at you and say, “If that’s the end result, I’m willing to take the risk and make the investment.”
In branding, the promise is more important than the journey.
Most of us have learned to think about customer experience. In recent years in the AV industry, we’ve had conversations more frequently about what it’s like for customers to do business with us and we’ve been creative about user-interfaces.
That’s great! Thinking about your customers’ experiences with your company will improve their journey.
But branding takes us ahead of the journey.
Your brand should always promise something aspirational. It should show your customers, “Here’s what it could be.”
If you deliver on that promise, your clients will only remember their great results at the end of the process. But when the end result and aspiration don’t align, the journey is what they remember.
I experienced this first-hand when I had my house remodeled. When I hired a contractor, I hired the aspirational image. But the contractor didn’t live up to the aspiration. The journey was rocky and the end result didn’t match the brand. It was disappointing, to say the least. I remember everything that went wrong.
If it had turned out well, I would have minimized the complications because of the great work that resulted at the end.
There will always be complications in the process. There will never be a journey without bumps in the road. But when you can deliver the aspirational performance your customer wanted, they’ll minimize the complications along the way.
When the end result and aspiration align, we forget about the bumps in the journey because they were a part of the process in getting to the result we hoped for.
Truth #3: We Are All Broadcasters
Your brand is not self-evident.
You can’t have a brand that contributes to the aspirational perceptions of your clients without promoting it.
It’s 2019. We’re all in marketing now. The tools we have at our fingertips — from social media to email to advertising to webinars — make us all broadcasters.
How and what you broadcast will affect your brand. If you want a strong brand, embrace the fact that you need to talk about it.
Truth #4: Passion Sells
I know you’re passionate about your business.
But as I look at your websites, sit in your sales meetings, look at your marketing campaigns, and hear you talk to customers, I don’t see your passion — I see your commitment.
Commitment is noble, but it is not what sets your brand apart.
Your success, branding, and power within your brand has more to do with passion than commitment. Commitment is merely lip service.
Passion is action.
If you’re truly passionate, it’s going to manifest itself in certain ways. Your clients will see it. Your prospects will see it.
Working with organizations who are trying to improve their sales, I often talk about how to override the Bow Tie Effect. The Bow Tie Effect is when a salesperson manages a relationship with a client. Basically, there’s a one-to-one conversation between supplier and buyer. What we want to overcome is the gatekeeper mentality of the Bow Tie approach and turn it around to create a diamond.
In the Diamond Effect, we have many people talking to many people. You’re connecting your team with your customer’s team. Your marketing people are talking to their marketing people. Your management talks to their management.
When you create this type of connection between your organizations, your customers see what you’re passionate about as a company. They get past the lip service and see the passion that’s manifesting itself throughout your organization.
You Have What It Takes To Develop A Strong Brand
Focus on your customers instead of your products. Sell your customers on the promise of what you’ll deliver. Broadcast your brand. Show your passion. These are the truths your prospects and current customers need to hear about what your company can do for them.