Coca-Cola, Apple, IBM. These names need no explanation as these brands are considered some of the most powerful in the world. Interbrand lists them as the three best global brands for 2012.
And, rightly so. A brand can be defined as “a type of product manufactured by a company under a particular name,” but at its core, a brand is a promise.
For example, you know that each can of Coke you open will deliver the same refreshment and that each new Apple product that comes to market will delight. These are the promises these brands make – and to retain their brand values, must consistently deliver on. The brand Coca-Cola is currently valued at $77 billion.
Find your X-Factor
So, ensuring that your brand speaks to your potential customers is vital. Effective branding distinguishes your product from the rest of the wide range of products and services out there; it’s your X Factor.
Here are some key points to remember:
- Consistency. Successful brands are built by consistently delivering on what they promise the customer. If your company’s brand promise is to “offer the best after-sales service” your business will rise or fall based on how successfully you are able to fulfill this each and every time they interact with your organisation.
- Reliability. Is your product or service reliable? Will it do the job it’s meant to and if something goes wrong, will you address the issue for your customer?
- First impressions. Customers often make judgements about brands or products based on feedback they receive from their friends and family. This means that for an entrepreneur it is vital to present your business or brand in the best possible light. The way you (and your product) look, sound and act, are a key part of branding and marketing.
Selling brand YOU
How well do you think you would be able to market yourself to a stranger? Do you have your ‘elevator speech’ prepared?
The so-called ‘elevator speech’ is an analogy that supposes you have just 10 seconds (the length of time it takes to travel up a flight in the elevator) to explain yourself or your business to a stranger or an important potential customer or contact.
To develop a successful elevator speech you must know your x-factor or unique selling point and be able to clarify your niche market. In your speech unpack what problems you solve for others, what kind of problems they are and how you would go about solving them.
You should also share a few examples because this helps to clearly illustrate what you are saying. Include words such as ‘I am’, ‘I do’, and ‘So that’ to show confidence in your pitch when delivering it to the other person. And always remember the key is to focus on the needs of the other person.
Part of being an entrepreneur requires you to be able to market yourself and create interest in your brand. Key to the longevity of both your business and your brand is the belief in your brand and importantly, the ability to market and sell it to the next person.