The cowboys used branding in the old west to identify their cattle and horses. When particularly excellent beef was identified with a brand, the brand itself gained value. After a while it was expected that beef under that brand was going to be excellent. The repetition of quality delivery over time developed the brand “promise.” As long as the meat from that brand was consistently good, the brand rose in value. If the quality changed for the worse, however, the brand’s broad reputation, that took years to establish, actually worked against it. In the eyes of the consumer, the brand had broken its promise of quality and “gone downhill.”
So even today, when you brand your business, there’s much more at “steak” than just identifying it, distinguishing it, and giving it a logo and a slogan. You are actually embarking on a publicity campaign that can cut both ways. When branding your business, at least consider the big three:
- What is the promise your business offers the consumer? What are the special attributes of your product or service that distinguishes it from others in your segment? Consistent deliver of your product or service with those distinguishing attributes is the promise you make to your consumers. Is it faster, more efficient, cost saving, profit making, cleaner, or simpler? Whatever it is, you must continue to deliver those attributes. As your company’s branding becomes better known, so does the resulting damage of breaking your promise.
- What is the perceived value of your product? How are your company’s products or services positioned relative to its competition? What perception of value do your customers or clients have when they buy your products or services? Do they feel they are getting more than they paid for? For consumer goods, even a slight price hike can set your customers off shopping again, and can be the fastest way to lose them. Price positioning is crucial to perception. So, be sure to greatly increase the value for money if and when you do raise your price.
- How will you manage the branding of your business? What are the audiences you want to reach? What is the message you want to convey? Where are these audiences? How do they receive messages about your business branding? How will you maintain quality and integrity? What does your company stand for besides the product or service you provide? Is your message straight forward and easy to understand? Is it memorable? How will you keep your business relevant to the market? Does your customer service department provide your producers with customer feedback? How will you handle glitches and setbacks that can negatively effect your reputation?
You may ask, “What about logos and slogans?” That’s the “fun” part, but this should not be even considered until you have done a thorough analysis of these three basics. In fact, these considerations will often tell you what the logo should look like and what slogans to use.
Good business branding is not an artistic creation, but a calculated business solution to a multifaceted challenge.
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at www.thebarefootspirit.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.