Your brand-new website with all the trimmings primed for SEO is finally done – check. Booth ready for trade show – check. Ads done for the industry pubs and new brochures are at the printer – check. You have all the tools you need to win new business and have a prosperous 2013.
Or do you?
Sure, having a strong web presence coupled with an aggressive strategic communications campaign is vital to the success of your business. But, if you reallywant to take your company and your brand to the next level, you’ll need to address the four most important dimensions of your brand and define its essence:
1. A definition of what your company is. The answer to this question isn’t as simple as you may think. If you are fundamentally a manufacturer of converyor systems and you callously respond, “We manufacture conveyor systems,” you’re doing your brand a colossal injustice. If that’s all you are, and all you think you are, game over. (What if Nike believed it was just a sneaker manufacturer?) When defining what your company is or who you are, be as descriptive as possible, including relevant facts and characteristics that will resonate with customers.
2. Understanding how you are different. There is a reason why you started your company. If you’re not the founder, but the one who is the Grand Poobah, there is a reason you are in a leadership position. In either case, your brand has something to offer that is better than or unique from your competitors. What are those key points of differentiation? Are they meaningful and relevant to your customers and channel partners? If you struggle to define exactly how you are different, pay particular attention to #4.
3. Understanding your WHY. What exactly is your purpose? Why do you believe you will succeed? If you’re in business, winning business, and growing your business, there is something driving your business. What is it? As the owner of your business, what is driving you to get up and fight the fight every day, take huge risks, and compete against those who are trying to take your customers away? Knowing the answers to these questions is the central nervous system of your brand.
4. Insights into what you are capable of becoming. These insights will be your drivers of growth. If you’re not thinking about what’s next or planning for the future, you’ll suffer a slow and numbing death. Remember that there are three types of business owners: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what just happened. There’s no reason you can’t be a leader, in some way. You should be thinking about what you’re capable of becoming every day, or you may find yourself watching and wondering what just happened.
These are the dimensions upon which great brands are built and also serve for the framework of the essence of your brand. When you think of brands such as Apple, Google, Ritz-Carlton, BMW, Jimmy John’s, and Southwest, each one of them is a leader in its respective category and each stands for something that consumers can understand and believe in.
It’s the reason your brand is your most important asset.