The first thing that you need to have in place to be designed for success is a clear and compelling brand identity for your business. You brand identity needs a name and tagline that clearly communicates what you do for your customers and what sets you apart from every other business in your industry. Your brand is the foundation for all of the other building blocks needed to effectively market and promote your business.
Al Ries, in his book ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding’ wrote, “The objective is to create in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no other product on the market quite like your product.” In order to acheive this, what you say about your brand must also ring true in the mind of your prospect as well. If you are not “the biggest and the best” in your industry and your prospect knows that, then it is pointless to say that you are. This will also hurt your brand in the long run.
In 1962, The Avis Rent-A-Car company was losing money every year. They wanted to compete with Hertz who was in the number one spot in annual sales and also in the mind of the prospect. If Avis had said to the world, “We are number one”, prospective buyers would have thought “No your not! Hertz is!” So Avis created the brilliantly successful postitioning statement, “Avis is only number 2 in rent-a-cars. So why go with us? We try harder.” Since the number two company at the time, National, had not positioned themselves as number two in the mind of their prospects, Avis was easily able to claim that spot with their brand. The result was that Avis shot up from losing money for 13 years in a row to the number two spot in the marketplace.
Here are a few classic brands you may be familiar with:
• 7-Up: The uncola.
• American Express: Don’t leave home without it.
• BMW: The ultimate driving machine.
• ARMY: Be all that you can be.
• Apple Computer: Think different.
• Nike: Just do it.
• EF Hutton: When EF Hutton talks, people listen.
• Energizer Batteries: It keeps going, and going, and going.
• Snapple: Made from the best stuff on Earth.
Here are some creative brands I recently discovered:
• IttyBiz: Work from home tips to help you stay sane.
• Wake Up Later: Web freelancing, Online Income, and Sleeping Late.
• B2B CFO: Cash. We help you get it.
• The Jekyll & Hyde Restaurant: It actually makes New York seem normal.
• The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce: We Mean Business.
• Get Rich Slowly: Personal finance that makes cents.
• TrafficBunnies: Making your hits multiply like rabbits.
• Shoemoney: Skills to pay the bills.
• The Straight Dope: Fighting Ignorance since 1973 (It’s taking longer than we thought).
When you are creating your brand identity, you need to focus on the needs and desires of your prospective customers, not on a “title” or “job description”. Your name and tagline should answer the question “what do you do?” in a way that makes a prospective customer say, “Tell me more about that.” If you are a Realtor named Joe Smith in Colorado Springs, Colorado, then your brand should not be:
Joe Smith: Real Estate agent to the Colorado Springs Area.
Customers don’t care what your “title” is. They what to know “what is in it for me?” There is also nothing in that type of “brand identity” that separates you from every other realtor in the area. You need something that states your unique promise to your customers like:
Joe Smith Realty Group: We get your home sold. Fast!
Joe Smith: I find you the best home values on the market. Guaranteed!
Whatever your brand promise is, needs to be something that you always provide to your customers without exception. It is the one thing above all that you always strive to do better than anybody else. That is what sets you apart from your competition. When you have a clear and compelling brand identity in place, you are ready to move on to the next step of becoming designed for success.