Brands are everywhere
In fact, if you live in a large urban city, it’s estimated that you come across 3,000 brands daily. Hard to believe? Start counting brands from the moment you wake up … from the brand of alarm clock you use, to your brand of breakfast food, dental floss, smart phone, and computer. Leave your home and you’ll notice dozens of brands in grocery store aisles, on billboards, and in store windows. You get the picture.
This is the world in which your brand is trying to be heard. In fact, business owners today face two challenging realities: (1) it’s more and more difficult to compete in this increasing pool of brand choices, and (2) this influx of brands is happening at the same time as the world economic slump is causing marketing budgets to shrink.
In spite of all the negativity, I can confidently share with you that you already have exactly what you need to establish a powerful brand and get noticed.
In fact, you already have five resources you can use right now to build a strong brand, without needing to drain your bank account. In this and more follow-up posts, I’ll share more about these five resources.
First and foremost, the #1 most essential low-cost resource you already have to build a powerful brand is: Positioning. There is no doubt that the foundation of successful branding is an intelligently positioned brand.
I define “brand positioning” as the way you want your customers to perceive, think, and feel about your brand, compared to competition. It’s the particular piece of mental real estate that your brand owns in the minds of your customers – in short, it defines your brand’s reason for existence.
Lots of owners of small businesses have said to me, “But Brenda, we’re so small that we don’t have or need a positioning. Isn’t that just for big conglomerates?” No! If your company is small, you need a positioning even more than a large company. Corporations can afford to make a mistake now and then because they have the budget to recover from it. But small companies or solo-preneurs can take a big loss even from small branding blunders. In fact, if your brand’s positioning isn’t crystal clear, it can cause you and your company to go under … quickly.
You already have a positioning
Yet another branding myth is: “I don’t have a positioning because I’ve never given it any thought.” The truth is that you already have a positioning, whether you want one or not. How? Your customers already have perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about your brand … right this minute. But the question is: Do those perceptions, thoughts, and feelings reflect the brand positioning you want?
Bottom line: You aren’t in control of your brand if you haven’t defined your positioning with a Brand Positioning Statement. Without that statement, you’re limiting your success – pure and simple.
It’s important to remember, though, that positioning isn’t just the product or service you sell. Let’s look at chewing gum, for example. All gum products are made of the essentially the same ingredients – gum base, sweetener, and a flavoring of some kind. What makes each brand dramatically different is how those same “products” are positioned:
- Clorets gum gets rid of bad breath.
- Dentyne Fire and Ice provides strong flavors.
- The sugar-free Five gum brand is for health-conscious people who want to attract the opposite sex.
- Hubba Bubba offers a big bubble-blowing experience.
- Orbit gives its customers white and beautiful teeth. The brand says, “You can have beautiful teeth even if the rest of you isn’t so beautiful.”
The bottom line is this: The single most important aspect of the branding process is getting your positioning right. But, again, you can’t get it right unless you have defined it clearly in a Brand Positioning Statement that outlines the six core elements of your brand: Target Market, Customer Needs, Competitive Framework, Benefits, Reasons Why, and Brand Character. Whether or not you succeed or fail depends on how well you fit these six elements together to form the definition of your brand. With more than 3,000 brands bombarding your customers from all directions every day, this is how you take control of your own unique brand and stand out from the crowd.