“Start by knowing what you want and who you are, build credibility around it and deliver it in a compelling way.” – Krista Neher
Human beings are emotional decision-makers; we explore options on products and services as we search for that elusive yet resounding YES in our minds and in our hearts.
During most searches, we make the common mistake that the information-gathering process is a purely intellectual and logical exercise (price, features, benefits, pros, cons). Although it often starts out that way, it is the emotional heart hit that moves us from thought to action.
Our subconscious mind is estimated to control 95% of our brain’s activity. This means that the majority of our daily decisions (including what we buy) are made, or at the very least are significantly influenced by parts of our brain outside of our conscious awareness.
This massive influence of the subconscious must be kept in mind when building a brand for your company. Your brand must not only address the intellect of your potential customers, but it also needs to speak to their unconscious emotional hopes, dreams, and even fears and betrayals. Your brand needs to demonstrate that you understand your customers in a deep and profound way from both inside their minds (subconscious) to the outside world (the marketplace). Without this, your brand will come across as disconnected and lacking in integrity.
“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar
The risk of a disconnected brand is that it will produce a disconnected marketing and sales effort. Often everything you do will feel like you are pushing a large rock up a steep hill. No matter how hard you push (money, time, effort) it never seems to get easier and the top is never in sight.
Let’s face it, building your company is a massive effort, and not for the faint of heart. But before we start the process of building a company let’s double (maybe even triple) check we are at the bottom of the right hill. By doing the important and upfront work on your company's brand will assure that your efforts are spent in the right place from the start.
With all of this in mind, how do you create a brand for your company that first truly connects both consciously and subconsciously with current and future customers?
To build an interconnected brand strategy we believe you need to focus on three key elements of your company and once revealed, weave them into your brand strategy. The three keys are; company values, unique market position, and the customer experience promise.
77% of consumers want to consume products and services from companies that reflect their values. So what exactly are values defined as? They are a person’s principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
What core values do you live by, that could also be part of the values DNA of your company?
To get the juices flowing let’s take a look at a couple of my favourite companies and their stated core values:
Lululemon's core values: personal responsibility, entrepreneurship, honesty, courage, connection, fun and inclusion.
Tesla's core values: doing the best, taking risks, respect, constant learning and environmental consciousness
Come up with 3-5 values that reflect your company's brand.
What makes you different from the rest of the crowded marketplace you compete in? If you have the attention of a potential customer for 10 seconds what would you say? We read about 5 words per second; this gives you a maximum of about 50 words to make your case for what makes you unique in the online marketplace.
New companies have a tendency to try to be everything to everybody in the marketplace. This generalized approach can be the death of a company. Our suggestion is to appeal to the segment of the marketplace to which you truly have the most significant gift to offer.
This is the place to be brave; to be seen and heard as to what makes you unique in the marketplace you compete in. The classic “elevator pitch” is generally 30 seconds; here we are suggesting 10 seconds (50 words) pitch on what makes you unique.
Here are a couple of examples to get your ideas flowing:
Amazon – “Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Lululemon: “Helping our collective be well in every aspect of their lives – physically, mentally, and socially – is at the core of how we create our products and experiences.”
Your turn. You are in front of your absolutely perfect and targeted customer and you have 50 words (max) to let them know they have come to the right place. Be brave and tell us what makes you unique in the marketplace! Why you??
Many people are inspired to open their own company because they are dissatisfied with the current offering in the marketplace and they feel they have something to offer that can make things better.
For example - Every customer that does business with my company will experience fast and friendly customer service, high-quality products, unique offerings… you get the idea.
What do you want your customers’ experience to be, before, during and after doing business with you and your company? State five experiences every one of your customers will absolutely have 100% of the time:
“Emotional brand building requires you to develop a personal dialogue with your customers on the issues that are most meaningful to them.” – Denise Lee Yohn
Now that you have highlighted your top company (and likely personal) values, bravely stated your unique marketplace position and clearly defined your customer promise you now have a walking, talking, kick butt and boldly emotional brand.
There is no going back now. Your unique brand is on track to inform all your current and future business decisions. You will feel a full YES at your core that you and your company are fully aligned. This alignment is key to producing a resounding YES from all of your customers!
Keep working at it until you feel it to your core!