In our last post we took a look at an unlikely successful brand, the Chia Pet, that defined their market, expanded strategically, and minimized any comparable competition. That’s great that they were able to expand their brand, but what if you haven’t even defined your brand yet?
You probably know of a few things you do pretty well and associate that with being your brand, however most brands are deeper than that that and there are a large number of ways you can define and compete to give yourself the best advantage.
Let’s start with your story. Why did you start your business? What’s your background?
If you say, I started a business to make money, that’s great. That’s what every business sets out to do, but why did you start THIS business? Why an Italian restaurant and not one with American cuisine? Why the small hole-in-the-wall and not a large 300 seat venue with an event space?
What reasons beyond money did you use in your decision making process? Many will want to provide a fun and exciting place for community members to escape the stresses of life. Some want to provide a great place to work for their employees where they can make a decent living. Others may need to share their delicious recipes with the world. And others still may be doing it to build prestige and want to be viewed as successful in the eyes of their family, friends, and the community.
Determine your factors for why you exist and what you are setting out to do. Be honest with yourself in this process. This background will shape your story.
Work several of these elements into the marketing of your brand. If you were a businessperson that wanted to provide a stable source of income for your kids so that they wouldn’t have to struggle in their childhood like you did; that can be part of your brand story. If you were sick of the way you were talked down to by a former boss and wanted to create a business where employees and managers worked together to solve problems; that can be part of your brand story. If you just wanted to create a bar that was a better place to watch sports with your friends; that can be part of your brand story.
This part is not about your business-sounding corporate speak, rather it reflects a more personal connection to your business. An emotional component that patrons can relate to.
We’ll work on incorporating this into your total brand strategy soon, but in our next post we’ll take a look at determining your core values. This will help us determine our niche and our target market. Once we have our target market, we’ll know how to incorporate our brand story to make a connection with the customers we most desire.
You may be wondering why we didn’t just start with those other parts first then. I chose to start with your story, because inevitably that’s why you started your business. You had a need or a problem that needed to be solved and you created a business around it. Before we get into the heavier business stuff, it’s important to connect with that initial desire you felt. You have a personal connection with your business and that connection will help you make more directed decisions on the future of your brand. So embrace it as we move forward.