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How to Build a Great Brand

Part 4 of the Build a Bullet-proof Brand series

Last week I talked about branding bad news. This week, I cover the good news about your branding, and provide some important tips on how to build a great brand.

First of all, you started your business or organization to serve a need or a purpose. You are passionate about what you do, and the people you serve. To sum up, you already own an inherently amazing story built on your values and mission. This story is embedded into the core of your business DNA—you don’t have to make anything up!

Many small business owners are too modest or bashful about telling people about who they are and what they do. As my collaborator and partner Robynne Davis likes to tell people up front (no beating around the bush with this powerhouse woman!)—most of us didn’t grow up wanting to be a salesperson when we grew up. We planned on becoming astronauts, doctors, explorers, teachers or President of the United States)—not a salesperson! 

We have this funny cultural brain-washing about what sales is and isn’t. I happen to believe that sales and marketing are not slimy, scummy activities. In fact, quite the opposite. Your brand's mission or purpose is epic. 

You are here to help people solve specific problems or achieve their dreams. Nothing scummy about that, if you do it with integrity and their best interests in mind. (If you’re the kind who are out to make a quick buck and don’t care a fig about your customer or prospect, then a pox on you.)

OUR JOB IS TO CONNECT TO PEOPLE, TO INTERACT WITH THEM IN A WAY THAT LEAVES THEM BETTER THAN WE FOUND THEM, MORE ABLE TO GET WHERE THEY’D LIKE TO GO.


SETH GODIN

You already have what it takes to make a great brand.

This means that you have highly motivated stakeholders (clients, volunteers, donors, partners and community) who can help take your message out into the world. An example of this is the power of viral marketing and cause marketing. The best brands change our view of the world. A great brand is one that makes a difference to their customers and community.

A great brand's value proposition extends beyond its products.

  • Great brands aren’t differentiated, they make a difference. Your brand should offer something to buy into, not just something to buy.
  • Great brands don't interrupt people; they involve them. Marketing that actively involves your audience is more engaging. Nike's success stems from its inclusive marketing approach. Tip: Actively involve your audiences in co-creating a democratic brand.
  • Great brands engage our emotions. Activities that resonate with audiences' experiences drive greater engagement. Appealing to emotions delivers more profound and enduring connections. Tip: Aim for heart-strings, not eyeballs.
  • Great brands help people to help themselves. Use your marketing to help people achieve their goals as well as your brand goals. Tip: Deliver value in every interaction, not just through every transaction. Deliver activities that people care about, and they'll care about your brand too.

Examples of great brands

Check out some of these well-known brands who are masters of sharing their story:

Build your own great brand.

Finally, in order for those people to help you, they need to understand what you stand for and why your product/service is the best. As a result, if you can find out what your customer values, and deliver on your promise and values, you have a sustainable competitive advantage. Follow the examples of the great brands listed above and learn how to become a champion for your category.

Next week: Part 5. How to figure out your brand essence. Until then, feel free to do your homework. Download the presentation now!

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