Branding With A Twist
Copyright (c) 2001 Sharon Dalton Williams
One of the things that are important for you to do as you build your business is to "brand" yourself. One of the definitions of "brand" according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary is "to impress indelibly."
What you want to do is get the word out about yourself, your company, and your products or services in such a way and at such a frequency so as to make an indelible mark on the minds of your potential customers.
That's not a hard thing to do if you are selling the first ever miracle widget. But what do you do if you are in a business that is commonplace, like selling office supplies, or in an affiliate program with thousands of other resellers just like yourself?
Let's take a look at some examples of excellent branding.
1) Saturn, a car manufacturing company.
When the owners of Saturn were contemplating opening the company, they needed to find a way to stand out from all the other car manufacturers that had been around for decades.
The owners decided to find "better ways for people to work together to design, build and sell cars. [They would be a] car company that would talk straight, do what it promised and deliver solid value at a fair
price" (taken from http://www.saturn.com).
Their strategy worked. Saturn is one of the most popular make of cars on the road today.
2) Home Depot, a warehouse hardware store.
When Home Depot came into the market place, hardware stores were in almost every town. What did the world need with yet another hardware store? In our area, there was even a warehouse hardware store chain
already in existence. What could Home Depot do to stand out from the rest?
Home Depot hired professional contractors to work in their various departments. This meant that when a customer went, for example, to the paint shop, the customer actually spoke with a professional painter for
tips and advice.
Home Depot went a step further and created a do-it-yourself university, where customers could take classes on the weekend to learn how to remodel their own kitchen using supplies purchased, you guessed it, at
Home Depot is fast becoming synonymous with the term "hardware store" because it is one-stop shopping and tutoring for customers.
3) Progressive Auto Insurance
When Progressive Auto Insurance emerged online, they were one of many car insurance companies, some of which had been around for decades and boasted of a solid customer base. To add to their challenge, they
entered the internet world.
Progressive Auto Insurance did something that was unheard of in the insurance industry. Whenever a customer asked for a price quote on their insurance, Progressive gave them price quotes of 3 auto insurance
competitors. Progressive counseled customers to go with the company that could save them the most money, even if the company wasn't Progressive.
What should have been disastrous - encouraging customers to go with other companies to save money - actually became their strongest selling point, because they built the trust of their customers.
How can this work for you?
1) Develop your own mission statement and decide what kind of company you want to be like.
2) Check out your competitors to see what services and products they are offering and how they are marketing themselves. Do you see any gaps in the market place that they are not filling? Find a way to fill
3) Determine what extra service or product you can provide to make life easier and better for your company, even if you give it away for free.
Even if you are in a business that thousands of other business owners are in, there is something unique about YOU, and you can use this uniqueness to brand yourself with a twist.
Sharon Dalton Williams is the author of "8 Steps to Abundant Success." Learn how to reach the goals you have set for your life and business. Surf to http://www.sdwassociates.com to order your copy.
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