Your Brand as a Strategy

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Customers need you to define your brand well because they need brands—and the promises they convey—to help them to make purchasing decisions in an environment where they can become exhausted with all the options. If the customer trusts your brand they’ll pay for it and worry about the details later. Developing a brand is like developing any other relationship: it’s built on trust, and just like in any relationship brand trust takes time to build.

You have a brand right now, whether you’ve launched your business or not. Because your brand stands in for you when you’re not there, building a specific brand must be high on your priority list. Why should you care about your brand? If time is money, brand earns you both time and money.

You need an overarching brand strategy to zero in on the pain your product or service solves for your ideal audience—and deliver a solution that will resonate in such a way that your customers rave about you and your brand.

Brand, done well, does two things:

First, it saves you time when making future decisions because you’ve done the strategic thinking up front. The clarity you achieved through the brand definition stage will allow you to make the most of your decisions when you translate and live your brand with your customers, employees, and partners.

Second, a strong brand will also bring more qualified prospects to your door, saving you the time it takes to weed out clients that aren’t a good fit. Your brand communicates who you are before you even see the client. Your logo, colors, website, business cards—some of the elements of your brand—allow current clients to introduce you to new prospects. If your brand elements don’t inspire confidence from your customer they will hesitate to refer you. But, if they do inspire confidence, you’re already a step ahead with new clients.

Having a brand will make you money. Loyal customers will pay a 20–30% price premium for brands they love. Let’s take the difference between McDonald’s and Burger King, for instance. Both sell essentially the same things: meat, cheese, bread, and beverages. However, in 2012 the difference in sales between McDonald’s and Burger King was $27 billion in McDonald’s favor—all due to branding.

Using the same example, assuming we are spending somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/1 millionth of their branding premium in our brand budget, that could represent a $27,000 difference in sales between you and your closest competitor, all due to the power of brand. What could you do with an extra $27,000 in your budget (or your pocket) per year?

The point is this… a strategically thought out brand will make you more money. Period. And, don’t we all want a little more moo-lah?