How to build a brand: no copy or design required + my favorite “must-read” business book
What is a brand?
Brand: When someone has a problem, YOU solve it. With style.
So, what does that mean?
Your brand is not:
Your killa copy
Your blog + twitter followings
Last week, I talked about how stealing sucks because you aren’t just stealing a design, you are taking a piece of a bigger thing that someone created. There is also something else you can’t steal.
Example: I love Instant Telesiminar.
It’s a fantastic web conferencing service that I use for everything.
It’s the ugliest thing ever, but I love it.
They have great customer service. It’s reliable. It’s easy. I am never without an answer to my questions. AND IT WORKS.
And you probably know it too. You’ve heard that awful hold music. You’ve been on that 80’s interface with the gradients (AH GRADIENTS)! You’ve seen the ugly type.
But when I jump on a webinar and hear the music, I get a little excited.
“OH SNAP, this guy uses Instant Teleseminar too?”
There are a lot of free conference call services out there that have better interfaces and sexier hold music but I happily pay for Instant Teleseminar. That’s right, I pay for it.
So, when someone asks me:
I am starting a class, which call-line should I use? I know EXACTLY what to tell them.
THAT IS BRANDING. It doesn’t have to be slick. It doesn’t need to be fancy.
It’s EASY to get caught up in the flashy side of branding and we forget that a brand is an experience. Your website can be AWESOME but if people don’t LOVE what you do, you don’t have a brand. If they can’t see you solving their problems, you don’t have a brand.
Words matter. Design is important. Experience is king.
Think of Spanx. A simple product that solves a very specific problem. It’s not a fancy product. It’s not a NEW concept. It just works. Really well. And people KNOW it works so they tell their friends. And that’s how you build a billion dollar business.
This is also why we have people who are SO dominant in their industries. When someone has a problem, they ask someone else and they get an answer. If you loved your web designer and someone was looking for a web designer for their business, you would have an answer for them.
If Instant Teleseminar can make a loyal customer out of a design snob like me then branding is about something so much bigger. Can I go to this business and KNOW that this solution will work for me? Will these Spanx hold my stomach in? Will this coffee taste good? Will this bra fit? If this computer breaks, will it be a headache for me to fit? If you design my website, will I love it?
Apple is often used as an example of the ultimate brand but great branding can be found all over the place. Think about the grocery store you go to or the jeans you love to buy. Think about the tea you like the best.
Why we should think this way: it’s so easy to get caught up the aesthetic part of branding (I am TOTALLY guilty of this) but if no one talks about your business, you don’t have one. If people don’t have a positive experience with your brand, they won’t spread the word.
Look at your business and ask yourself this: what is your reputation?
What are some things you can start doing right now to build experience and trust in your business?
Pretend that your business didn’t have a website. How would you build your brand? How would you make sure people know what you do?
How can you encourage your clients to be brand ambassadors for your business? Brainstorm!
Some of my ideas: testimonials, seminars (not just during launch time), case studies, killer content ALL the time, affiliate programs with existing clients
The idea is to let people test your brand out. They’ll love it. They will buy. All will be wonderful.
And what are some businesses with brands you LOVE? Why?
Want more ideas and tips on building a great reputation?
The Referral Engine– This is SERIOUSLY the most useful business book I have ever read
Some other brands I love: Old Navy Tall Sweetheart Jeans (the only jeans I buy), Jimmy Fallon, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Kanye West (I’ll buy every CD he will ever make because I know I am getting something new and awesome), Kroger Grocery Store, Aimee Bender (I’ll read anything she writes), KEANU REEVES
And if you want some help figuring out your brand (and so much more), sign up for one of my retreats. I sold out my first month and I am looking forward to filling spots for August. THESE BRAND RETREATS ARE SO FUN! We get SO MUCH done and I LOVE getting to know you guys.