When you hear the term “branding” – be it business branding or personal branding – what springs to mind? Logos… right? But what are the hidden successful business brand attributes?
Most business owners spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and money to create a vibrant, exciting brand style and logo to fit. They look at colours, fonts, images etc but often miss the vital underlying attributes of successful business brands.
The most successful business brands are often simplistic in terms of a logo – think Nike and Apple – or they may focus on the personality and ‘fame’ of an individual – think Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Oprah or Graham Norton.
What they have in common is they primarily base their brand on attributes like passion, authenticity, credibility, quirkiness, distinctiveness and/or boldness. This brings an immense strength to any brand representation in both a visual and narrative sense.
So how can you shamelessly borrow this concept to strengthen your brand messaging?
Here are three successful business brand attributes to get you started. (Lots more in my Leveraged Consulting book – read Intro free here!)
Attribute #1 – People Get You
What lies beneath your brand is as important as the visual public parts like your logo, website and ads. When you lead your business from the heart, from a passion for what you do and who you do it for – your ‘why’ – it speaks volumes to your audience.
Aligning your purpose with your business will really help you to know what products and services will really be of interest and value to your potential customers. Most people don’t spend enough time on this introspection, or they spend an inordinate amount of time and get overwhelmed trying to think about their business in a logical way.
Take some time out to explore your inner voice about why you do what you do, what makes you uniquely positioned to do it, and what gives you the most satisfaction out of helping the people you are best equipped to help.
In helping you find your true motivation, I tell my clients to create a little Ven diagram – three circles that overlap. The Japanese call it finding your ‘ikigai’ – where what you love, what you’re good at and what people want help with, come together.
Mapping this out for you and your business is a very good starting point. Even if it’s not perfect or there are various different elements you can play around with, strengthen the mindfulness that drives you and your business. It’s hard to make decisions from a place of confusion, overwhelm or blurriness.
Once you have your central purpose determined, a lot of business and branding decisions will flow much more easily.
Attribute #2 – People Hear You
If you’re super clear on what lies beneath your business purpose, you’ll find it much easier to speak (or write) from the heart. This is what really helps successful business brands connect with their target market.
A successful business brand will be in keeping with the personality, style etc. of its leadership. From everything you say, write, publish and print – the colours and imagery you use in your store, website, ads and marketing – ensure you have consistency across all brand elements and all materials.
Your aim is to create a single and clear “voice” about who you are, who you serve and how you help them. (If people were to talk about you, what might they say? What would you want them to say?)
In an industry where consulting and coaching are increasingly seen as indistinguishable commodities, a successful business brand will gain a competitive advantage by standing out (not by fitting in).
Being value-driven is an important mindset for success here. That means having a fundamental commitment to create meaningful outcomes for your clients.
From the moment someone engages with you to the transformation you help them achieve, what you say and how you act counts.
The impact you have on a person’s thinking, business or life is what fosters client satisfaction and loyalty.
Attribute #3 – People Follow You
When it comes to their sales offer, successful business brands focus very little on ‘what’ the service or product does or doesn’t do, and far more on why their target audience should care.
The main success tactic here is to create a compelling value proposition. You can easily do this by publishing useful education-based content that helps people with a clear and urgent need they have. Because this is going to be highly magnetic to your target market, you will attract an audience of loyal followers.
Education-driven marketing leverages your value as an expert, moving your potential client-buyer towards your high-end services and products by demonstrating and validating that you’re the one they want. Some call this Attraction Marketing – I call it Client Dating!
Client dating works much like regular dating. At the start, you aim to attract and engage the people you think are a good fit for what you do – an ideal match – and then you “court” them. If there’s a connection, you’ll keep in touch and keep them interested until you ask them to take the next step with you.
Of course, if there’s no initial invitation, no connection or follow up, people will not move forward and they’ll disappear or fizzle out. This is fine because, at the same time as you focus on attracting the right people, you’re also filtering out people who aren’t right for you.
Let’s consider this process as a marketing funnel – back to business. A ‘first date’ invitation might be to ask your target to download a free guide, attend a seminar or webinar, watch a video series, take a 5-day challenge.
That next step isn’t to try to ‘sell’ them on all your features and benefits; that’s like asking for a full commitment after one date. No, you first need some romance and spark, and then you invite them on subsequent dates, so you can get to know each other on a deeper level.
An education-orientated strategy can underpin a successful business brand because it helps create a trusted relationship with your customer or client that leads elegantly to sales and new business.
As you help and serve them, your brand style and offers should continue to add value, build loyalty and gain you referrals.
So there you have it, three critical yet subtle successful business brand attributes that can have a huge impact on how well you attract, engage and influence people.
Feel free to leave me a comment below, I welcome your viewpoint and any questions.