Your business’ brand is more than your business’ name or logo or color or slogan. A brand is the way your customers perceive you. It’s what they remember about you when you’re not in front of them. It’s the expectation you set for the relationship before you ever meet your customers. It’s the promise your business makes to your customers.
Painting the words “John Smith & Sons, Plumbing” on the side of a rusty van is as much of a brand as one of our state-of-the-art, shiny Gold Medal Services vans… those are both brands but they communicate two very different things. Here are 6 brand building tips for your business to make sure you’re communicating the right things:
- Your brand should be accurate but also aspirational: Your brand should accurately describe what you do right now but also what you’ll be in the future. Your brand should be true now, even if you’re the only person who works in your company, and later when you have a team of hundreds.
- Your brand should make a promise: Even if the promise is implied instead of stated, your brand should make a commitment to your customers about something. And, of course, you need to live out the promise that your brand makes.
- Your brand should explain what makes you special: Too many brands are focused on the name and the service (like “John Smith & Sons, Plumbing”) without making it clear to customers WHY they should hire you. Compare “John Smith & Sons, Plumbing” with “Jon Smith & Sons, Specialists In Fixing Leaky Faucets In 15 Minutes — Guaranteed”. See the difference? The first brand could become lost among so many other plumbers while the second one clearly has a very specialized positioning.
- Your brand should connect with your target market: If you serve a specific area or a specific type of house or a specific type of customer then your brand should reflect that. For example, if you specialize in helping seniors then your brand should reflect a more traditional approach instead of a more modern one.
- Pick some colors and use them everywhere: Your brand is not just a name, logo, and slogan. There are ways to brand things without those elements. For example, a color that appears everywhere (on your vehicles, signage and marketing) is an effective way to brand things too).
- Brand congruence is essential: Your brand consists of the elements I’ve listed earlier. However, if you have a super-professional logo that is displayed everywhere but answer the phone by saying, “yeah?” then there is a lack of congruence between your visual brand and your verbal one. Make sure everything is congruent. Train your team to know what your brand is, what it stands for, and how their actions and words support (or sometimes detract from) your brand.
Every business has a brand. What does your band say about your business? Use these tips to help you developer a more powerful brand. And check out my book Secrets Of Business Mastery for even more branding strategies for your service business.