Branding Your Business: Do People REALLY Know Your Value?
Spring is in full bloom, as witnessed by the number of new puppies present in the dog park with me and my 4½ year old pooch, Cormac. The dog park is a great place to connect with people and it was just a couple of weeks ago I was talking to a couple about their renovation project. They were in the process of hiring a contractor, but were not thinking about hiring a designer. I asked them why and they said to me quite matter-of-factly, “We know the colours and style of furniture we want for our new living room and kitchen.” I know what you are thinking, and I was thinking that too!! So I gently began to explore their understanding of what a designer could provide to the successful completion of their project.
Having a clear idea of your brand and your Unique Value is critical to the success of your business. At Velocity Partnership we define a brand as:
“The point of difference that you consistently deliver from the promises of your product and/or service that deliver a unique and meaningful experience that create a relationship that your clients value.”
This beautiful picture of cacti gives a small sense of the over 2,000 different species, each with its own unique shape and form. You too have a unique and special brand, you just need to take the time and energy to define it.
Yes, there are many, many definitions out there for a brand. In fact I did a search on Google and found 12 million results, so I acknowledge this isn’t THE GOSPEL on branding! However, after spending many years as a Brand Manager at a large multinational packaged goods company and helping my clients define their brand, I like what this says.
We believe having your brand in place gives you a very powerful context to work from. It also gives you the ability to speak about your value when someone tries to get you to drop your prices…especially in this economy! Therefore this Velocity Report offers some tools to help you get a crystal clear sense of your company, where you add value and how you are unique. While defining your brand can sometimes feel like having teeth pulled without any anesthetic (!), I promise your hard work will help you be more confident and successful.
10 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DEFINE YOUR BRAND
WHO ARE WE?
Are you an independent, small, mid-sized, full-service company, based in a local community or world wide?
WHAT DO WE DO?
This is the mechanics of your service or product delivery – the bread and butter description of your business.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
Look at how you deliver your product or service and describe it. This is where you might incorporate some strategic thinking. If you are not sure how to do that, watch for new Business of Design courses to address this.
WHAT WE DON’T DO
Be very clear here. This is a critical question that needs an answer.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES US?
What makes you different from others?
WHEN WOULD SOMEONE NEED US?
What is ‘the pain’ you are addressing?
Are there similarities or trends that you see?
Defining your ideal client is critical to your success. There’s a great Business of Design course—Ideal Client, Ideal Project—which helps you define your answers to this question. I recommend it strongly.
BILLING & PRICING STRUCTURE
Do you have one? If not, boy are you in the right place!
WHY HIRE US? The biggie! Yes, your clients want to know why they should hire you and it better be a good reason. They may like you, however, if this response is not compelling enough, it won’t matter.
My Recommendations to Complete This Exercise
I recommend you take yourself to a quiet space with no interruptions to answer these questions. If you can’t do this work on your own, consider asking someone to assist you by asking these questions and typing out your responses. It’s amazing how much easier it can be to speak your thoughts aloud instead of writing them down on paper by yourself.
You may not get this the first round through. Just stick with it, and call it draft 1, then revisit it in a couple of weeks and see what else ends up under these areas. Most of all, have fun with it because when you know your brand well, your confidence elevates and so do your results.
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