on Tue, Mar 12, 2019
A brand is your logo, your website, and your tagline. A brand is your color scheme and your brand usage booklet. It’s your building, your employees, your management team, and your culture. It’s your products or services. It’s your pricing model and it's the way you do business. A brand is all of those things.
A brand is all of those things and then some. A brand is what makes your company your company. When it's done well, a brand changes the way consumers think about and interact with your business.
Having a good brand eliminates the need to compete on price alone. All things being equal, the company with a stronger brand will win any sale, even if they’re more expensive. Consumers will pay a premium to have brand name products.
Why do people fork over hundreds of dollars for a new pair of Nike shoes? They’re just shoes, after all. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the shoe. It’s the image of the brand. Nike makes you feel empowered like you're part of the team. When you step into a pair of their shoes, you can do anything. Their tagline even says so: Just Do It.
A good brand is also a way of life. Think of companies like Harley-Davidson, or Apple Computers. Those brands change the lives of their customers for the better.
When you buy a Harley, you’re not buying a motorcycle. You’re buying a lifestyle of uncompromised freedom and open roads. Hardcore fans even tattoo the logo on their bodies. Those extremists are called brand ambassadors.
When you buy an iPhone, you’re not just buying a cell phone. You’re buying simplicity and connectedness. You’re challenging the status quo. You also paid a premium for it. In fact, research has shown that iPhone technology is actually behind the industry standards. Yet, consumers are willing to pay a premium for sub-par technology because they love the brand. How’s that for loyalty?
Those were two examples of exceptional national brands. But can a small, local business really achieve that kind of loyalty and cult following? Not on a national scale, but in your local community? Absolutely. Here are two of them:
The Fabled Farmer provides fresh and nutritious local food. The restaurant located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota opened in the Spring of 2017. They offer everything from freshly made juices and smoothies from locally sourced produce to homemade baked goods like their gluten-free pumpkin cake. Their cinnamon twists are a family favorite.
Whether you're looking to grab lunch or a snack, The Fabled Farmer is a popular spot — probably because they're locally owned and operated. Consumers like to support their community when they shop.
El-Jay Plumbing & Heating has provided the St. Cloud, Minnesota and surrounding areas with dependable plumbing and heating services since 1967. And their brand portrays their commitment to their customers.
For them, it's not just about what they service though, it's how they do it. They care about helping others. And their brand directly reflects that — after all, "Excellence Begins with E" at El-Jay Plumbing & Heating.
There are a few threads these companies have in common, but the most important one is top-of-mind awareness (TOMA). That type of awareness can only be achieved if you have a remarkably memorable brand. If you live in Fergus Falls, you're familiar with the up and coming restaurant, The Fabled Farmer. And for El-Jay Plumbing & Heating, they provide excellent service to individuals in the St. Cloud and surrounding areas.
Each of these brands is consistent in everything they do. Whether it’s their logo, website, culture, or marketing messages. Everything
It isn’t easy to build a strong brand, but it sure is worth it. It’s also never too late to start. Even if you’ve been in business for decades, there’s no better time than today. Building a strong local brand takes time and consistency. If you’re willing to commit to those two things, you’ll be glad you did.To get started building your brand, download the first chapter of Chuck Mefford’s book about branding local businesses.