For better or worse, every business out there has a brand.
I say for better or worse because you may not like what your brand is. Your brand could be confused. It could be nonexistent. It could be conflicting.
As I said before, brands are more than a logo. Your brand is the core identity of your business.
And if you don’t know what your core identity is, or you never took the time to map it out, then you more likely than not have a confused, conflicting or nonexistent brand.
So why is this a problem? Well, because without a strong brand, you’re going to struggle needlessly trying to grow your business.
You see, you may be getting clients and business, but I can guarantee you’re working a lot harder then you would be if you had a strong brand. A strong brand attracts your ideal clients to you and repels not-so-ideal ones. This is one of the ways you become a client magnet — having a strong brand then promoting that brand through a marketing system. Without this, you’re out searching for clients, rather than simply responding to clients coming to you. It’s a lot more work and a lot more stressful because you’re never sure where your next client is coming from.
If you have a strong brand, that means you have a strong reputation in the marketplace. So people already know who are you and what you do. They know what problems you solve. So if they have that problem, they come to you. If one of their friends has that problem, they refer their friend to you. See how that works?
Now let’s look at the flip side. You have a weak, confused, conflicting or nonexistent brand. People may have heard of you but they aren’t what it is you do. They have no idea what problem you solve, so they don’t know if they need what you sell or not. They don’t know how to refer you. And worst of all, they quickly forget your name or your business name because it has no meaning or value for them.
And if you don’t figure out what your brand is and then do everything you can to continually emphasize and remind your ideal clients about it, then the marketplace is going to decide what your brand is. And you’re probably not going to like what the marketplace decides. (And yes, you need to do both — figure out what your brand is and then consistently market it. If you only do one and not the other, you’re back to the marketplace deciding what your brand is.)
So how do you know what’s going on with your brand? Ask yourself these questions —
1. Do YOU know what your brand is? If you don’t, then you most definitely have a branding problem.
2. Do you know what your brand is but you don’t have a full pipeline of ideal clients? Then you either have not communicated your brand to your ideal clients or you’re missing the marketing piece. (Or your branding is all wrong for who you want to attract so you may need to go back to the branding drawing board.)
3. Do you have a brand but you keep hearing things like: “Wow, I didn’t realize you did THIS.” Or “I thought you only did that, not this.” Then you have a brand communication and/or marketing problem OR you’ve gotten away from your brand (more on that next week).
4. And of course if you hear things like” “I’m not sure what it is you do.” Or “You’re the best-kept secret” you clearly have a brand problem.
Remember, it’s up to YOU to communicate and market your brand to your ideal clients, it’s not their job to remember you.