Let’s start with two truths and a lie:
- You can build a brand that brings in the customers you want
- Branding is simple
- You can easily brand and start bringing in customers right away
What’s the lie?
It’s easy – it’s #3.
It is my belief branding can work. It is also my belief that branding can be simple.
But, despite all of the internet marketers telling you otherwise, branding isn’t immediate.
Branding takes time and work.
So let’s jump into the basics of how to build your business into a brand that can fuel your marketing and sale pipeline.
Done correctly a proper brand is the centerpiece of your business development strategy.
Step 1: Get Focused On Your Brand
Good branding starts with a focus on your brand.
That might seem crazy simple. And it is.
But most businesses don’t spend enough time thinking about what their brand is, what it means and what it stands for.
Done properly your brand is your communication about what you are – and what you are not – to the world.
So the first step on building a great brand is to focus on what your business is, what it does, and how to communicate it.
Make no doubt this is more than a logo and colors. This is who you are. The logos, colors and everything else follows that.
As much as the value of the Golden Arches and Nike Swoosh are celebrated it is clear neither of them would have much value as a stand-alone. The value of most logos of most iconic brands is the work behind what the physical symbol gets attached.
Step 2: Make Hard Decisions On In Or Out
Probably the hardest part of branding is figuring out what is in and what is out. Not everything can be part of your brand.
A brand is boundaries. It’s a promise.
What you truly adopt a brand you say “this is what we are.”
And part of what you are is what you are not.
I am the Do Business Differently(™) guy. I show up at events in unusual suits to communicate how I believe every business should be unique and different. That gives me ownership of a space – within my brand – and excludes me from other things.
As the Do Business Differently(™) guy I am not your traditional solution. If you want someone that looks like everyone else and follows traditional thinking I am not the person to help you.
I have to be OK with losing business about what I am not so that I can gain business about who I am.
Making hard decisions is what is part of your brand and what is not is one of the most important parts of branding.
Step 3: Living The Brand
Once you know who you are – what’s in your brand and what’s not in your brand – you have to live it.
This means being consistent in your brand and not wavering from that brand.
When I fully embraced the Do Business Differently(™) philosophy I upset a lot of people. Some people didn’t want to do business with me. Some people said they couldn’t take me seriously.
But other people see the brand and want to Do Business Differently(™). Many of my business clients are proud to be doing business with someone that doesn’t do business like everyone else.
That’s living your brand.
And you need to do the same. Once you figure out your brand you need to repeat it again and again and again. And accept the good and the bad of it.
Step 4: Putting In The Reps
A big part of a brand is putting in the reps – showing people what you brand is repeatedly.
Today people are skeptical. In a world where anyone can call themselves a social media expert and be on a stage a week later people want more.
You know what sells well today?
Showing up day after day and week after week living the brand. Repeating your message.
In a world where it’s easy to say anything people believe what they see. And they believe when you stick to a message and don’t change your brand every week.
Your brand can be revised as the market changes but that should build on what you’ve done in the past.
Step 5: Turning Your Brand Into Business
The reason we brand is to get business.
Further we brand is to get business efficiently.
When you have a good brand and you do the reps of living the brand it will lead to business. People will see it and they will filter themselves to be your ideal clients.
You can’t ask for more than that. But it starts with aligning who you are, what you are great at and your brand message so you can live it.
After that turning the brand into business works.
I’ll tell you after taking the hits and working hard to live the Do Business Differently(™) brand the right clients show up and my sales cycle is much easier and simpler.
What To Do Next
The first step is to believe. You have to believe in branding and start the work.
Once you believe in branding you can determine what your brand is and start the process of living it.
A branding workshop would probably do wonders for you. I’ll be co-hosting some of those in the near future. Make sure you get on my e-mail list so you’ll get tips and notices of events.
LET’S DO MORE: If you are a business owner or leader let’s be in touch more. I’d love for you to read my online work and give me your honest feedback: join my mailing list, follow me on LinkedIn and jump into my Facebook Group.
NOTE: This article is a piece develop a small portion of the content of the book tentatively called The Journey: Finding Your Place From Entrepreneur to CEO being co-authored by The Our Shawn McBride and Ann Gatty. If you want updates on the book including the possibility of joining our release team or getting one of the first copies please join our mailing list here.
DISCLAIMER: This article talks about legal issues. I am a lawyer licensed in multiple US jurisdictions, but I am not your lawyer unless we have signed an engagement agreement. Please view this material as educational and general in nature (as it is). Consult counsel you have retained for advice on your specific facts and circumstances and applicable laws. Do not rely on the statements in this article as legal advice.
By: The Our Shawn McBride, is the business nerd and long-time business attorney that focuses on changes of ownership in businesses. He works with business owners that know their business is about more than themselves to get ready for their future through keynotes, training and personalized solutions. In furtherance of this he hosts The Future Done Right(TM) Show where he collects, digests and gives lessons and insights on The Future of Business. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.
You’ll quickly notice his unusual suits which he uses open the conversation of how businesses should Do Business Differently™.
The Our Shawn is based in DeLand, Florida (between Orlando, Florida and Daytona Beach, Florida) and Dallas, Texas where he keeps offices. You can also find Shawn on webinars or traveling nationally or internationally for speaking engagements.
Check me out at: www.planningdoneright.com
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