(Time to read this Blog is about 2 ½  minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking:

  1. My biz quote of the week:
    “Many clients tell me they have an advertising problem.  But what they really have is a ‘compelling value’ problem.  Simply put, advertising is creative bragging and many businesses aren’t doing anything worth bragging about.  When we’re delivering compelling value, compelling communication should be easy.”
    …Donald Cooper.
  2. Innovative recycling. A construction company in Columbia is converting discarded coffee bean husks into building blocks to build affordable housing in low-income and indigenous communities. These modest houses can be built quickly and require very little skill.A California company, Byfusion, has developed an efficient process to convert plastic waste into constructionbuilding blocks to replace concrete blocks that require a lot of energy to produce. See demo video belowAdding ground up scrap tires to road paving asphalt improves ride quality, pavement life, pavement noise and skid resistance.
  3. Raising your wage rates without raising your expectations is a big mistake. As the economy gets back into gear, there’s a shortage of job candidates in many fields.  Consequently, many companies are increasing wages, especially for front-line and entry level jobs.  So, here’s a tip.  Don’t hire anyone to whom you would not be happy to pay $15 or $20 an hour.

Now, to this week’s important topic:

3 Simple Steps to Creating Your Powerful Brand:

There are many differing opinions as to what a Brand is.  On the surface a Brand is just a company name, product name, logo or slogan. But these are simply memorable icons designed to trigger a powerful set of assumptions about such things as quality, service and value…and about who you are if you purchase that Brand.

In truth, a Brand is a promise to always deliver a consistent set of qualities, standards, values, outcomes and experiences that your target customers want in their lives.

So, what is your clear Brand promise?  What value and experiences do you always deliver?  What are the values that you promise to always live by?  What’s your Brand personality?  Are you serious, reserved and formal or are you more friendly, playful and relaxed?  If your Brand was a person, who would you be…Madonna or Martha Stewart, Bill Clinton or Bill Gates, Michael Jordan or Denis Rodman?  What’s your Brand name.  Is it memorable?  Does it ‘grab’ your target customers?  ‘Miracle Gro’ is one of the world’s best brand names because their name is their Brand promise.

So, Step #1 is to become very clear about who your target customers are, what’s really important to them and how you’ll serve them in a way that clearly differentiates you.  What value and experiences will you commit to deliver, and what values will you commit to live by?

You may have a number of different target customer groups with somewhat different needs, wants and priorities…but if you try to be too many things to too many different people, you’ll not be compelling to anyone.

One of the best ways to truly understand your target customers is to ask these 4 questions.  When each of our target customer groups is buying or using what we sell…

  1. What are they really trying to do?
  2. What do they want or need to know to wisely choose and effectively use what we sell? How can we become their ‘Caring Coach’? What do they need to know about us to be proud and confident customers?
  3. How do they want to feel?
  4. About how much do they expect to pay?

By thinking and feeling like a customer, we can develop very real, very human insights into who they are, what really matters to them and how we can create a compelling Brand.

Step #2 is to keep your Brand promise in everything you do.  When you’re clear about who you are and what you commit to deliver, you need to keep that promise at every touch-point, every customer…every time.   Every product or service you offer, every person you hire, every decision you make either delivers your Brand promise, or it damages your Brand.

Below is a 5-part process that will help you deliver your Brand promise at every tough-point…

  1. Create a complete list of every ‘touch point’ at which your business and your Brand ‘touch’ your target customers in any way.
  2. Define in detail the experience that you promise to deliver at each of these ‘touch-points’.
  3. Audit what we’re actually delivering now at each of these ‘touch-points’.
  4. Determine what you must fix, create or stop doing to deliver your Brand promise at every ‘touch point’.
  5. Develop an Action Plan stating specifically what will be done, by whom, by when, at what cost to make it happen. Then, constantly measure outcomes, reward success and deal with non-performance.

The people on your front line will be your ‘Brand Ambassadors’.  What will you do to ensure that they’re the right people for that important job?  Will every person on ‘Team Front Line’ understand your Brand promise, values and personality…and why those things are so important?  Will they be trained, passionate, committed and empowered to deliver?  How will they be rewarded and celebrated for delivering the Brand…and will non-performance be dealt with quickly and constructively?

A great example of not keeping a Brand promise is airlines that put ‘Priority Tags’ on the luggage of their most valued customers with the promise that their baggage will come off first when they arrive at their destination.  But then those airlines fail to put into place the processes and the culture of urgency to make absolutely sure that this always happens.  Broken Brand promises dishonor customers and drive them away.

Step #3When you’ve defined your clear and compelling Brand promise and made sure that you’re actually delivering it at every ‘touch point’, now is the time to communicate and market it.  You can take a 2-year course on ‘Advertising’…but here it is in 2 seconds, “Advertising is creative bragging”.  That’s it! Don’t advertise and promote your Brand promise and then try to figure out how to ‘pull it off’.  This will end badly.  First, you get good…and then you brag.

So, Step #3 is to consistently, congruently and effectively communicate your clear Brand promise, Brand values, Brand name and Brand personality in everything you do.  There’s no point in being the best if you’re also the best kept secret.

The good news is that when you truly ‘grab’ your target customers and turn them into fans, they’ll become your most effective and cost-efficient Brand promoters.  Customers give us business…fans help us grow our business. ‘Word-of-mouth’ has always been important…but social media is word-of-mouth on steroids.  Thousands of people can know about you, good or bad, in hours.

In conclusion:  The 3 clear steps to creating your powerful Brand are:

  1. Create a clear and compelling Brand promise by understanding what will ‘grab’ your target customers and clearly differentiate you.
  2. Deliver your clear Brand promise, Brand personality and compelling customer experience at every ‘touch point’. Live your Brand values, even when you think no one is looking.  Because, here’s the thing, nowadays, somebody is always looking.
  3. Communicate your Brand promise, personality and values in everything you do. Be consistent and be real.

So, there you have it…3 steps. It’s simple, not easy.  But, the alternative is to be a boring, mediocre and undifferentiated commodity that slowly becomes irrelevant and fades away.  Life is full of choices.

That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 

Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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