5 Reasons CEOs Must Build Branding With Business
You have invested time and energy into building a successful business.
It has taken decades and teams of employees to get to this level.
But what about your brand? To be clear, building a business and building a brand is not the same thing. On some level over time, you will end up with some kind of brand by default, but that’s not how you run your company. Hope and happenstance aren’t strategies.
You may be profitable, but do you own your space? Is that good enough?
It can’t feel good leaving money on the table. If you are pulling 60-hour work weeks, 30 hours should be spent on your brand.
Let me explain. A brand is a story that makes a promise—meaning it sets expectations on what your customers can expect from your organization. In other words, every time I interact with your company, I know that I can expect X, Y and Z.
Businesses spend time and money building a brand. Pillsbury created the Pillsbury doughboy, Starbucks sequenced the Starbucks logo and who can forget the iconic Apple logo. These examples add a visual impact that makes the brand memorable.
When you boil it down, your brand story is a form of currency that you should spend wisely.
Here are five reasons why you should build your brand—along with your business—so you can truly get paid for all your hard work:
1. Brand Stories Separate Your Company From the Rest
Whether you are selling a product or service, there tends to be a fundamental marketing challenge because everything is flat. For example, you sell LED lighting fixtures, or cupcakes or physical therapy. So what? So does everybody else? Now what? How do your prospects make up their minds before they purchase?
That’s why you should wrap your product or service in a “story”, which adds layers of interest. As opposed to selling your products’ features, tell the story through the founder of the company. Tell the story through the customers who benefit and appreciate the product.
In addition, storytelling separates your brand from the competition—and that is huge because if every brand is the same, then you will only be able to compete on price…and that is a race no one wants to win.
So what’s the easiest way to increase your margins? Be different. And telling your story through marketing tactics like PR and social media will reinforce what makes your brand unique again and again.
2. People Pay More for An Experience (i.e. Brand)
When it comes to fishing, there is nothing the matter with dropping a line off the banks.
But I’d prefer to do it on my boat. Why? Because it creates a totally different experience.
People will pay more for an experience. From a marketplace perspective, you should always be selling what people are buying.
An organization creates an experience every time it interacts with a customer at every step along the way from nurturing, engaging, purchasing, delivery and support. The compilation of outcomes from each stage makes up the “experience”, which customers process to determine future buying decisions.
Walt Disney isn’t the only company selling an experience. Your company is…and you can promote it through your brand.
When you build your content funnel, make sure you tell stories about your company’s experience and, more importantly, about the experience it provides.
3. Business is About Selling, But Branding is About Giving
When building a business, sales is the name of the game. But when building your brand, giving takes centerstage.
The quickest way to bring prospects closer is to give them something of value. More importantly, give them something that they value.
This notion has always been true, but it has been ramped up ever since the world went digital. All your prospects are now only one click away, but they are also only one click away from your competitors and other distractions.
Remember, people no longer seek, they search. So how do you get them to find your brand?
Be helpful. That’s how to draw people closer to you and your brand. Tell them a story about your brand that they will engage them. After all, engagement is another word for involvement, which is the key to commitment. If you want someone to commit to your brand, you must get them involved with their brand.
Start with your brand. Storytelling helps us make sense of the world by communicating our values and, ultimately, connecting us. A story speaks directly to us in a way data and slides can’t compare. A story utilizes brand messaging, simplifying complex topics that conveys an organization’s purpose. In fact, companies that convey purpose and value can outperform their counterparts in stock price by a factor of 12 and have a profit performance ratio 750x higher than companies without shared values, according to the Corporate Culture & Performance study conducted by John Kotter and James Heskett.
4. People Like Brands That Help Them
When it comes to building your brand, here is the winning formula: Reputation + Relationships = Revenue.
The better reputation you can build for your brand, the more relationships you will have. From a business perspective, more relationships equal more revenue.
Most salespeople leave the “reputation” variable out of the equation. You need to increase sales by 20 percent, right? So what do you do? You send out emails, make calls, attend conferences and networking events. You know exactly why you want a relationship with your prospects, but do they know why they want a relationship with you?
And that is why “reputation” is so important.
To build reputation, you should consider practicing karma, which is just another way to say the Golden Rule (i.e. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.).
From a business perspective, ask yourself two questions:
1 ) Generally speaking, who do people do business with? What we found over three decades from one industry to the next, people do business with people that they like. (That’s why the button on Facebook says “Like” not “Buy”.).
2) So, if people do business with people that they like, who do people like?
And what we have found is people like people who help them.
People do business with people that they like; People like people who help them.
Your brand story should incorporate this insight because it is firmly entrenched in the buy cycle. Positioning your brand into one that helps your prospects and clients will enable you to build a better reputation and more relationships and revenue.
5. Brand Stories Help Answer 3 Questions to Close Prospects
Your brand is a story that can close deals, which builds your business.
Let’s pretend you are sitting at a table across from an interested prospect. No matter your industry, you will need to answer three questions correctly to close the sale.
- Question #1: Have you ever worked with a company like mine?
- Question #2: What makes you special?/Why should I hire you?
- Question #3: How much?
These three questions seem simple enough. But, I assure you, they are loaded with the stuff that will make or break you as a marketing or sales support professional.
The first two questions are marketing questions—which contain vital parts of your brand story; the third question is a sales question. Once someone asks, how much, you have already started negotiating.
But keep this in mind: You will never get to the third question, which is the money round, unless you answer the first two questions correctly. In other words, the three-question series is actually a sequence.
The first two questions do the “selling”, while the third question does the “closing.” In other words, your brand story will play a crucial role in the first two questions.
For Question #1, talk about how your company has deep expertise in certain areas and how your customers and clients have benefited from your product or service. For Question #2, showcase the way your company approaches certain challenges. This material is woven into your brand story.
Your business may be everything, but your brand makes it bigger. Commit to building your brand so you can benefit from everything you have built.
Do you want to learn more about how you can build your brand? Contact us today, to get the conversation started.