What is a brand? And is the term “brand” only used when referring to a business?
Businesses need to understand and know about branding, in general, and understand the term “brand” itself. What does that mean? A lot of times, especially startup businesses, they hear the word “brand” and instantly think, “Oh, that’s just my company or my logo, my visual identity.” But it’s the entire experience.
Now, post-pandemic, or when transitioning into a new normal, we need to understand that it’s an entire experience that creates the brand. And it’s not about just our perspective, as business owners. It’s what type of feelings are we evoking in our clients? How do they view us as brands? So, taking that time to really fully understand what that journey looks like from a client’s perspective will help you to establish a strong brand that will last a lifetime.
What is a brand “sweet spot”?
In the past, we talked about the “brand sweet spot.” And what that brand sweet spot is, is it’s that unique interaction that focuses on your expertise or skill set and combining that with what your customer’s needs are, what are their problems, what are their concerns? And then knowing what currently exists. You combine those three elements to determine where you fit in that mold. How can you serve the customer and satisfy their needs or have solutions to the problems they currently have but differentiate yourself to stand out in an overcrowded marketplace? That’s what we call that “sweet spot” – that special lane where you can just hone in on being great and doing what you do as a business owner and not having to worry so much about being competitive or trying to figure out a new way to stand out. You just stand confidently and know what makes you your product or your service great
There are many companies that are doing it well. One company that comes to mind, and it’s actually fairly new, is Alikay naturals. If you’ve been to Target, and if you are African American, or you have curly hair, you may be familiar with this product. But what stands out about her brand is the fact that it’s colorful, she’s herself, and she’s incorporating various elements of what she uses as ingredients to allow herself to be different. You can go into any hair aisle at Target or Walmart, and there are so many products. It’s like the brand aisle. How do you differentiate yourself? But by telling your story, engaging based on where your customers are, and connecting with them – those are things that you can do to really stand out, and she’s doing a great job at that.
Another company that does an excellent job at standing confidently in their brand identity is one that everyone knows – and that’s Apple. They created a community, and they’ve been around for years – and it’s an exclusive community. How many times have you asked someone, “Oh, do you have an iPhone? Or are you an Android?” And if your answer is Android, then you say, “Oh, you need to get with the times!” They’ve done a phenomenal job. No matter what they bring out, their followers have to have it – and they know what they’re getting. They know the values of the company. They trust and they’re confident that they’re getting a quality product that’s going to last a lifetime. A lifetime is the top level of technology.
Nowadays, especially when you’re seeking to support your target audience, you want to create a more personalized experience. If you’re a small business, you probably have more face time where you are standing up to be the face of the brand. This allows you to have that connection because people will resonate with an individual where they can see some similarities. Maybe we’re both females, or we’re mothers or, we’re entrepreneurs – whatever the case may be. Putting your brand in front allows for you not only to be the face but gives people something to connect with and creates a custom experience for your clients.
It’s not a conveyor belt. I’m not giving everything to everyone, and you just have to pick one up. It’s what you need as an individual or as a consumer. How can I personalize that experience for you? A big trend is customization in anything that you’re doing. When you’re talking about big tech firms, like Apple, then yes, Steve Jobs was the face of the brand. But when you’re serving so many different target audiences, it’s a little bit more challenging to necessarily put another face behind the brand at that point.
Have you noticed this shift in recent years towards more personalization?
What is the most important element of your brand?
It’s important for you to understand value. And there are two different aspects of value for your brand that you should understand. There is value as far as what your business stands for, your core beliefs, and your social responsibility. How are you going to show up? How are you going to support your audience? And things of that nature, such as having clarity on that as a business. Oftentimes, that seems obvious, like we should know that, but often, especially when starting out, a lot of businesses dropped the ball because they’re just trying to get out there and get their name out there.
The second part of value is worth. Your time and talent are valuable, and by putting some form of rating on it, that will allow you to effectively position yourself in the marketplace, whether you’re going to be a high price point or a lower price point.
In the past, people were looking perhaps for the lowest price point, but now they’re looking for that company that aligns with them as a person or as a business, and they choose to do business with people that they know, like, and trust.
3 Action Steps
- Know that your brand is more than just your logo. It’s the entire experience you create for your customers.
- Define your brand “sweet spot” by looking at the intersection of your expertise, your customers’ needs, and what currently exists in the market.
- Understand the two aspects of value that your business provides – your core beliefs and that of your time and talent.
Connect with Ayisha Thompson at: linkedin.com/in/ayisha-thompson or at: https://envisioncreative.kartra.com/page/brand-sweetspot-freebie to receive your “Discover Your Brand Sweet Spot.”