Branding — Not just for cows anymore

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What truly sets you apart from your competition? Do you even know the answer? Most business owners and managers don’t, and the truth is that it’s what can make or break your business. We’ve all heard the saying “perception is reality,” and that applies tenfold when you’re trying to brand your business positively. For those who don’t know what branding is, here is a simple definition: Branding is a way to familiarize the public with a name, character, slogan, etc. that will serve as the defining feature of your product or organization. More importantly, it’s the feeling behind that image which draws the clients in. The Wal-Mart Smiley, Chevy Bowtie, the Nike Swoosh or countless other images bombard us daily with the hopes that we will not only remember them, but that we will remember them positively.

While we may only be discussing powerhouse companies in this article, it’s important to note that those aren’t the only ones that should be concerned with how they are being branded. Whether you like it or not, there’s already a perception about your company in the public spectrum. Friends will tell friends where to buy cars, where to find the best deals on clothes or even what exterminator really gets rid of the bugs. So even if you’re unaware of what sets you apart, odds are there are a handful of your customers who do know! This brings us to our first major step in developing your brand…Set aside some time to talk to your customers and constantly ask for feedback. There may be something you already do that really bowls them over. Maybe there’s something you and your competition aren’t doing that could really help you set a new standard. In a world where market research is becoming critical for every business, you can’t let the most reliable and cost-effective feedback slip through your fingers! TALK TO YOUR CLIENTS!

Branding is in your own hands
The key to successful branding is really in your own hands. Wal-Mart didn’t get to be the powerhouse we know today because of a smiley-face. It was because Sam Walton jumped in his truck every morning and set out to find the best deals on anything he could and used all his disposable resources to make his branding efforts true in the eyes of the consumers. Therefore it’s your job as a manager/business owner to engrain this message into the minds of your customers.

The team members in your organization also play a critical role in developing your brand because once you have marketed yourself as the leader in one aspect of your business; you must make everyone within your organization believe it first. This may not be as easy as it sounds. You must constantly remind all members of the organization that you are all collectively the best and the only way to do that is by being honest in your branding. BE the best and everyone will know it.

You’re probably wondering how we have the audacity to tell you that the way to be known as the best is to be the best. But don’t forget the one critical aspect that will really make the difference: Tell everybody you’re the best. Shout it from the rooftops. Do a ‘We’re the best at what we do’ jig every morning if you have to! Bringing positive attention to your business through branding will have clients clamoring at your doorstep. We’ve preached it to every client we have. Every single bit of advertising you do needs to promote the brand and why you’re so much better than everyone else. So talk to your customers, figure out what makes you different, but, more importantly be the best and don’t let anyone forget it!