Brand: it’s your business approach.
Many businesses believe brand is a one-time process and a one-time investment – usually involving a series of meetings, workshops or discussions over a period of time (along with the price tag) with a specialist in marketing who talks in abstractions about experiences, emotions and mission & vision statements where nothing is ever concrete or certain. This is perhaps ironic given that brand and brand strategy provides your customers with certainty in an uncertain world.
There’s also the business that believes brand is… something acquired off-the-shelf, implemented into the business like a convenient add-on or upgrade. The motivation for this business to brand themselves typically lies in one of the following beliefs or opinions: 1. We’ve heard a bit about ‘brand’, it sounds like a good idea – we could probably do with a new logo and stationery 2. FOMO: it’s popular at the moment – our competitors are all doing it so maybe we should too or 3. Piecemeal approach – we’ll invest in brand and see if it’s a good fit or we can incorporate some of the practices into our business without fully understanding the big picture. The result is the true value of the brand and the strategy is missed or overlooked. To make matters worse it’s then forgotten about while ‘we get back to the serious business of doing the work’.
Truth be told, your work is as serious as your brand – because your brand is a reflection of your work. There’s a mirror effect at play. Implemented consistently across the right marketing channels, your brand communicates and expresses your business approach to the world – or specifically – to those like-minded customers you want to attract. Brand is used as a strategic communication tool to express how you act, how you do things as a business, how you perceive yourself, how you want others to perceive you and what you really believe in. In this way, brand can be said to truly be your unique approach to business.
Clarifying and communicating the reason why you ‘do the work you do’, the real purpose behind your work and the beliefs that surround those reasons, are the ‘abstractions’ brand strategists look to identify, articulate and formulate to grow your brand. Its no surprise these concepts are not forefront in businesses, business owners, senior execs or employees’ minds. Work is work after all and that’s most people’s focus everyday – your business approach is not in your conscious thoughts on a day-to-day basis. An awareness of your approach and your brand’s power, however, can help communicate its value to businesses large and small. In this way its also true that brand can often be a subtle art and a misunderstood discipline.
Brand is not something to be outsourced to specialists (it can only be lived and expressed by you who set the approach) nor is it delegated to minions further down the pecking order. Your business approach starts and is defined through you – the owner or senior management. Helping your staff, employees and ideal customers understand your brand is your responsibility. It helps and empowers your leadership approach. Your approach flows through the whole business – top down or bottom up, depending on your business model. Brand is a business approach that defines your business and guides your people who work in it (the true brand ambassadors) – it’s your collective shared identity, shared values and shared beliefs that motivate and inspire you to achieve your business goals. It’s a principle and a set of behaviours that define a business and make it distinct from its competitors or your fellow practitioners (depending on how you view the competition). On of the key benefits of embracing and enforcing your business approach is that – together with your marketing – brand can help to powerfully define and distinguish you from the crowd. And that’s no bad thing in an overcrowded market.
Be your unique approach to business.
Be your brand.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As The Brand Entrepreneur, I believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. I do this through a series of brand workshops designed to educate businesses to identify their identity, visualise their vision and manifest their brand mission. ’Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now’. I’m passionate about helping businesses create unique brand stories & design assets that help brands get ‘in sync’ and connected to customers for business growth.
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur