Okay, now I’ve got your attention I’m going to ‘fess up and tell you this headline doesn’t mean what you might think. This is not an article about brands laying off staff with little notice, their CEO’s philandering with PA’s or airlines leaving customers stranded at airports.
No, this is an article about brands who don’t behave badly enough.
This is about the bland brand; the polite, no fuss, no name no frills brand that refuses to stand for anything, playing it safe in a tricky market and paying the price of obscurity, otherwise known as diminished business.
That’s a far cry from the dynamic business you’re leading, right?
I thought mine was safe from the bland brand syndrome until recently when a trusted mentor of mine said, ‘Michael, you’ve got this fortnightly newsletter called The Brand Stand and you’re often telling people their brands need to stand for something more. What about yours? What does your stand for?’
Now this person is a big brand advocate and has also told me I need to sell myself more. ‘You know,’ he said, ‘I sell you better than you do.’ (Often our clients do, and in the next article I’ll give some tips on gaining meaningful testimonials.) But the point is this. If you truly want your brand to stand out you also have to stand for something you believe in that produces massive benefits for your target market. Then do everything in your power – and I mean everything – to grow that market.
Otherwise you might as well go back to a nine to five job or pick up or executive career. If retreating back to the life you had before you took the leap into building your own brand doesn’t excite you and you think you’ve become way too comfortable plodding along in your business, waiting for things to get better with the economy or your target market or whatever, start by asking yourself these questions:
- Why this brand?
- Why this brand now?
- Where will this brand be in ten years time?
- How do I make people care deeply about this brand?
- Why should they care?
Take a look at Simon Sinek’s excellent TedX video on ‘Start with Why,’ and you’ll be instantly reminded of what makes people buy.
We get so caught up with the ‘what,’ the process, the product, even the service (I’m assuming you’re quality product and outstanding service are givens).
But what’s the point of that of a great product or sensational service if we don’t know your why?
As Simon Sinek eloquently states about the mindset from the people at Apple, ‘Everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way which we challenge the status quo is by making the products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers.’
That’s inspiring brand leadership. That’s standing for something. It’s an ongoing commitment backed by a consistency. It’s a promise delivered.
I’m now committed to constantly revisiting what our brand stands for, and why.
How about you? What’s your why?