Just a few clicks can start a business. With a flood of competitors, how do you attract attention and find customers? Here are the brand secrets to building a company that people really care about.
What is a brand?
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, Blue Origin, and owner of The Washington Post declares:
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
Why brand matters
Marketing expert Seth Godin explains: “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Why should people choose you over the competition?
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway warns: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
This is why brand strategy is important. Building a great reputation demands a strategy.
Here are 7 of the best brand secrets strategy questions
- What do my customers care about?
- How do I find my why?
- How do I find/describe the technical benefits (product features) of my business?
- How do I find/describe the functional benefits (customer benefits) of my business?
- How do I find/describe the emotional benefits (the way customers feel) of my business?
- How can I craft a simple message to convey my brand?
- How can I live and breathe my brand?
What do my customers care about?
Author Simon Sinek reveals why some succeed while others fail: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
Never just say what you do. Tell people what you believe and why.
How do you find your why?
Ask your customers. In their words, how does your company benefit them?
Some of the most successful brand consultants will study a business for many hours to find out:
- How do employees do the work?
- How do customers interact?
- How exactly does the business work?
Learn the details that make you different and special.
How can you find and describe the technical benefits of your business?
Here’s how Apple describes its iPhone 14 Plus:
- Super Retina XDR display
- 6.7‑inch (diagonal) all‑screen OLED display
- 2778‑by‑1284-pixel resolution at 458 ppi
These details will attract certain people when they compare other products and businesses.
This describes what your product is. While this is important, it’s probably the least essential part of your brand.
How do you find and describe your functional benefits?
How your product works is more important than what it is. What does your customer get when they buy your product?
Let’s look at a lawn care service. How does it save time?
You work all week. You’d have to mow your lawn on the weekend. There are only a limited number of weekend hours. What is your weekend time worth?
Now, think of how you can describe your product or service benefits this way.
What about your emotional benefits?
This is most important: why your business exists.
How do your customers feel because of your product or service? Let’s continue with the lawn care example.
Saving time and knowing this important task is done gives peace of mind. What’s it worth to have time with family or relax instead of working on the lawn?
For some people, status is even more important. Slaving over his lawn, your neighbor sees you lounging by the pool while someone else handles the dirty work.
Now, what are the emotional benefits of your product or service?
How can you craft a simple message to convey your brand?
The Ultimate Driving Machine. I’m Lovin’ It. Just Do It.
Can you match these slogans with their company? Did you think of BMW, McDonald’s, and Nike? This is the power of simple, memorable messages.
Some of these messages took years of research and effort. Shorten the time it takes to make your own product positioning and messaging.
Brainstorm with all in your company using questions like these: How do we want people to feel? Why do people need us? What’s our ultimate goal?
Now that you’ve defined your brand, how do you live it?
Taglines and mission statements don’t usually sell products. They help you focus. This focus directs all your company decisions. It helps you create the right content to educate, entertain and advertise.
Andy Crestodina explains how this works to make a content strategy. He quotes Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, who recommends you define X, Y, and Z:
Our content is where audience X gets information Y that offers benefit Z.
What are X, Y, and Z for you?
How does Nike apply this?
Nike’s mission statement is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” They exclude no one and consider everybody to be an athlete.
Look at their Instagram feed. A glance will tell you they feature pictures of current world record holders standing beside former record holders. Nike also features videos of famous athletes sharing how their dreams got started.
What about taglines?
Once you have a mission statement, it’s easier to develop a tagline. Ramit Sethi’s blog and book have this title: “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.”
Clearly, people want the benefit in this short sentence.
What do all of these brand secrets mean for you?
Your brand or reputation matters. Ask customers and employees how people benefit from your company. Find what makes you different. Create your message and mission statement. These brand secrets are the path leading to greatness for your company.