As a business person, how do you refer to yourself when you meet people?
Managing Director? Chief Executive? Chief Cook and Bottle Washer? Whatever it is, I doubt many of you call yourselves the Chief Branding Officer. Of course you don’t. Your business doesn’t even have one, although that’s where you’re totally wrong. You do. Every company does. The Chief Branding Officer of your company is, and always will be, YOU!
Most people think of branding as the domain of multi-national corporations or iconic enterprises not a venture run from your spare room, kitchen or garage. Whilst your vision may fit the bill, every company has a brand. It may not be on the same scale as Apple, Coca-Cola or Nike, but it’s equally as important to your customers. A brand is what your company promises to the world. And its uniqueness is more than cheaper prices, shiny packaging or next-day delivery. Your brand is ultimately the lifeblood of everything your company stands for and you are the best person to lead the charge.
Your brand tells the world what your company stands for; its ethos, its purpose and more importantly its values. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon (a little-known company, you may have heard of them) once said “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Think about that for a second. What do you think people would say about your company when you’re not around to hear it?
By taking into account your company’s vision, how it markets itself, what values it holds dear will quickly determine how your customers feel about your company. Sure your prices might be low or high; but if people think how you handle customer enquiries is terrible, no sale in the world will bring them back. Think Marks and Spencer. No matter what is going on with their share prices no one will ever question their exceptional world class customer service (whether it’s true or not).
Your brand tells the world what your company stands for; its ethos, its purpose and more importantly its values.
It’s worth remembering that brands enrich and improve people’s lives (if done correctly) and take into consideration the wider world. It is no longer acceptable to put costs first in the West while across the world, women and children are suffering terrible working conditions in sweat shops.
Although Primark enjoy bumper sales season after season, they face heavy criticism for the use of child labour in their supply chain from non-developed and developing countries. And they are not alone. Nike, Calvin Klein, IKEA, Ann Taylor and Tommy Hilfiger also enjoy cheap labour so they can boost their bottom line to the dismay of their customers. Although customers threaten to protest with their feet and purses, this has not proven the case albeit the reputational damage probably costs a lot more.
Once your core audience learn that your brand respects their opinions, their values and most importantly, their custom rather than simply pay lip service to it, you have the makings of a loyal community that will take your company, and its brand, to their heart. Anita Ruddock’s values lay at the heart of her company the Body Shop. Even when she took the company public and sadly passed away her values were still embedded in the organsiations policies, guidelines and philosophy.
Don’t dismiss these examples. As a small business owner there are lots of lessons you can learn from global companies and consumer trends which can be built into your brand.
I’ve worked incredibly hard to create brand “Sonia Brown”. It’s founded on integrity, collaboration and relevance but it’s also important to recognise that when you are helping people to turn their dreams into viable businesses there must be trust, honesty and credibility. People know what they’ll get when they work with me. It’s the reason I’ve worked with so many incredible people over the past decade time and time again.
If we’ve never had the pleasure of working with me to turn your business into a sustainable enterprise, then let’s change that. Join me at the Business Breakthrough Webinar which takes place on Thursday 21st May at 12:00GMT. It’s an ideal opportunity to join me and other like-minded business people as I share my six steps to a business breakthrough.
To book your seat sign up here and let’s get together to start building your brand.