Now, more than ever, what your business stands for and what it represents can be the foundation for a meaningful competitive advantage. Several days ago I spoke about a “correct” vision statement; your brand should enliven that vision statement. What experience do you want your target market to have? That experience has to be defined and then interwoven in everything that you do, your product or service, what it represents and the method that it is delivered to the end user.
Every fiber of your being and that of your business must encompass the experience.
Brands are how businesses make their products/services stand out from their competition. Today, a brand has to be more than just a logo, or a catchy saying or packaging. The key aspects to branding in today’s market are identity, essence, belief, trust and promise. Brands must instill a high level of confidence in their target market.
Brands are created through the experiences that your business offers. Apple, to me, epitomizes the ideal brand. To quote Steve Jobs: “For me marketing is about values. This is a very noisy world and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. So, we have to be very clear what we want them to know about us.”
Brian Solis added this: “As you think about the experience you wish your customers to have before, during, and following transactions, think about what it is they’re thinking, feeling, seeing and touching in every step. This is the experience. Now, what people share in the Ultimate Moment of Truth are the experiences that, in turn, define your brand.”
My goal today is to stress the importance of the experience that your target market has when dealing with your business. Spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a logo or a catchy phrase has very little to do with establishing your brand. Let’s, instead, take a step by step approach and define and evaluate the experiences that you want to your “community” to experience and make sure that your products/services, the delivery methods and the ongoing support provide that experience.
I hope that I am destroying the old concept of what a business plan should be. I believe in the business blocks method of creating and implementing a business plan, and this is just another block in creating a successful business.
Nick J. Petra CFP