Tag Archives: marketing for small business

What’s your company’s promise?

What’s your company’s promise? 

Many business owners hear branding and think about their brand assets: logo, font, colors, website, etc.  Those are queues to trigger your brand promise.  Consistently using your brand assets make it easier for your people’s brains to trigger and have the thought of your promise (remember you).  The colors, fonts, name, logo and other brand assets work together to create a trigger that works more effectively with any target audience.  What the brand assets trigger though are not images of your logo.  Brand assets trigger emotions, beliefs, memories and attitudes about your company.  If you do not deliver to your brand promise to your customers, you are a liar. It’s hard to come back from that.  I put it this way to help you remember why we have brands and why they are not your assets. Logos, colors and fonts can’t lie or make promises.  Your brand is your promise to the world about who you are, how you deliver, what you deliver, why you care, why they should care, and what about you is “brand-worthy”.

Branding is about your employees making a connection with your audience in your unique way. 

Most customers can source their products and services from any number of companies that are probably very similar to yours.  Customers “self-group” based on how they identify themselves and tend to do so with companies that support their self-image.  If your company is the best choice according to their self-image then you must let them know it through branding.  If you have provided your promise to the market, your people found it, and you delivered as promised, and they choose you again, that’s your brand working!  Brand is raw and emotional.  It’s why they chose you.

Do your employees all know it and work every day to deliver your promise?  Why would they?  Have you made it a priority in their day?  Are they incented to maintain your brand?  Your company has probably spent tens or hundreds of thousands training sales people to talk to your product capabilities, features and benefits.  You train engineers on an ongoing basis.  Has your brand team ever sat down your sales, marketing, finance, support, manufacturing teams and explained your brand promise to them?  Have you explained why it’s important to them, the company, their paychecks?  Probably not.  Marketing is probably working for sales delivering cheat sheets and product specs.  Delivery people busy delivering packages, sales spouting features and benefits that change every year.  Not your promise, and seldomly what makes your company truly special. 

So, what’s your company’s promise? 

What are people supposed to think about your company?  How do your people find you?  You tell them your promise.  If it resonates with your people, they come to you.  If not, they go to the company whose promises resonate with them. 

Branding is about your employees making a connection with your audience in your unique way.  Branding people come up with the messaging that best describes why you got in this business in the first place and why that is important. Your crowd wants to know who you are (behind the products or services) and usually some part of that includes your brand promise.     If you speak their language and deliver what is meaningful to them, you are the right company for them.

Now it is your job to put your message out there so your people can find you.  Branding is more about creating your community based on who you are to your core. It probably says a lot about who you are and why you got in the business of serving them in your unique way to begin with.  When your people hear your honest story about wanting to help them in the way you thought they would appreciate, it will resonate with them in ways competitors never will be able to. Your unique promise to help your crowd based on your truth is a powerful message.

Is Your Vision Drivng Your Brand?

As a marketing consultant, I often work with people who are a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of branding and marketing themselves.  I very often hear things like:

  • I don’t like marketing and advertising.  It feels manipulative.
  • Spending time on marketing means I’m not putting my energy into my real work.
  • Promoting myself feels egotistical, like I’m out to get something.
  • I don’t want to shove my name or my product in people’s face.

I get it.  I really do.  If you are coming from a place of trying to convince someone to buy something they neither want nor need, marketing can come across as manipulative.  If you are trying to decide what to make or sell based on what the market says people want, that can feel like a distraction from your real work or a dilution of your vision.  But here’s my question:

Is your brand driving your vision? Or is your vision driving your brand?

In good marketing, vision comes first.  Brand is used to communicate the vision, to raise the real work into a place of visibility and public awareness.  Who you are, when communicated beautifully and authentically, sells itself.  Then marketing becomes simply a use of tools to help people find that authentic vision-driven brand that they so resonate with.  It becomes about creating content that inspires your natural audience, whether they ever hire you or not.  It becomes about presenting every aspect of your business is a voice, style and method that says something about who you are and why they might benefit from getting to know your brand.  When vision drives the brand, marketing is a two-way communication and the product sells itself.  All you have to do is be yourself.

So, here’s the call to action:

Get really, really clear on your vision.  

  • Who are you, as a business?
  • What do you do?
  • How do you benefit your clients?
  • What makes what you do special or different from your competitors?
  • What’s the highest experience you envision for your clients?
  • Who are the ideal clients for you?
  • What do they want and need, and how does that match up with who you are?

When you know the answers to these questions, branding is easy and marketing is a joy.