In my work with business owners / private practice owners across the U.S. and Canada, I have found the concept of Branding a bit unknown, especially within small entrepreneurial companies. Yet, this is truly a vital aspect of any business and should be known well, used often, and fully implemented.
You could spend a ton of bucks to enlist the help of a highly-qualified professional firm to Brand your company. If you have the funds, go for it! If not, please read on as I will lay out the “keep it simple and inexpensive way” to accomplish this.
First off, what is Branding? (Online definitions.)
- A brand is a collection of symbols, experiences and associations connected with a product, a service, a person or any other artifact or entity.
- A great brand adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience… whether it’s the challenge to do your best, or the affirmation that “drinking coffee” really matters.
- Distinguishing symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence, or a combination of these items that a company uses to distinguish their product from others in the market.
Marketing technology tells you to differentiate yourself, find what it is that you do which is “remarkable” / What is your core-competency?
Here is what I’ve seen as the “usual attempt” at this: the owner meets someone with a marketing background, or they’ll just dream up something themselves to come up with a logo, / “tag line” (a phrase that describes you, your services.). It then goes out onto their promotions, websites, etc.. Doing such, really leaves you having no clue if it will communicate well or be at all effective!
Another example of what not to do… Don’t sit around and think up what you would tell your audience / clients / patients about your company or what you do. You must first find out what your audience needs, what they think, or their purpose for using your product or services, etc. YOU MUST FIND OUT FROM THEM FIRST.
Surveys are pretty commonplace these days, but are not used enough. There is a very specific and precise technology to surveying as a whole, but I will not discuss this here.
I will, however, give you something simple to improve your business.
Get the following questions answered by at least 50 of your customers/clients/patients. Never hand it to them to take home and bring back. If you have a waiting room, have some printed copies to hand and ask each to fill one out before they leave. If you also have customer email addresses, use this line as well. Continue requesting these until you have 50 or more full answers back.
Your next step would be to read all the answers. You are looking for a common denominator from the majority of the replies; a common statement amongst the highest percentage of answers. That statement can become your tag line!
Now you’ll take this tag line / phrase to a graphic designer, and tell them to draw you
5 visual representations of this phrase. Once done, you’ll show these to your customers one at a time and ask:
“Which of these 5 represents this phrase “ ________________________________” the best?
You will arrive with what your customers really think about you / your company and you will have designed your communication in alignment with your customer base! This gives you a much more realistic communication and creates improved impact of your message.
QUESTIONS: (YOU COULD CHANGE THE WORDING BUT NOT THE CONCEPT OF THESE QUESTIONS.)
“I am working to improve my services and would greatly appreciate your input to the following questions:
1) If you were to describe our services/products to another, what would you say?
2) What one benefit have you received from our company?
3) What would you say is remarkable about our company?
4) What would you say is different about our company compared to our competitors?
5) Is there anything we could improve on? If so, what?
6) Anything else you would like to say?
You will undoubtedly garner a ton of helpful information, and may as well find improvements you may want to make. Try it out! I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!