By Jennifer Holland, Certified Brand Strategist, Holland People+Brands
You have a business, and you have a product or service to sell.
That’s good news. But I’ve got bad news for you, too: The marketplace doesn’t care.
Yes, your product or service is very important to you. You believe every man, woman and child on the planet should have your “thing.” In fact, your research proves it.
The person who actually needs your “thing,” however, has a thousand other things on his or her mind, and you are not even on their radar.
Here’s what the people in your marketplace are subconsciously thinking about you, whether they realize it or not:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why does it matter?
Too many business owners are unable to give clear answers to these questions because they are unwilling to give up so many things. To find this clarity, you must be willing to quit.
Focus means sacrifice.
This is counterintuitive to most Type-A business personalities. I hear it all the time in strategy meetings. The well-meaning owner says, “If we give up this, that and the other thing, we limit our opportunities for profit.” As a result, they refuse to quit.
Actually, the opposite is true. Eliminating things and narrowing your focus increases your opportunities. It makes you a market of ONE — without competition — because you either create your own category or rise to the top of a narrowly defined category.
It makes you KING of that category.
The Number One in a category is more in demand, can charge a premium, has higher profit margins and is resistant to becoming a commodity.
That’s why Starbucks isn’t just coffee…the iPhone isn’t just a cell phone…and the Ritz-Carlton isn’t just a hotel.
Branding is not about stamping your logo on everything you produce. It’s about developing a relationship with the unique members of the marketplace and giving them the power to own your brand in their minds.
That’s how you ultimately end up with a brand personality distinct from your competition.
When you clearly communicate your brand to a prospect, it becomes a dialogue. They receive your message, think about it, and say something back to you (whether that is buying your product or service or not.) If you think it’s a one-way street, you’ve been hoodwinked.
If you were standing in front of a prospect, nose-to-nose, toe-to-toe, they could ask you those all-important questions: “Who are you?,” “What do you do?,” and “Why does it matter?”
And they’d expect a response to be your specific answers.
That means YOU have to quit trying to be someone else (namely, your competition)…quit trying to appeal to everyone…quit trying to solve every problem…and quit pretending that everyone should care.
That’s how you win in business.
Therefore, go forth…and build your brand!