For any business, it is great to have a fancy logo or graphic, but don’t make the mistake of believing that alone is your company’s brand. Your brand is also your reputation, or the image your brand represents in the eye of the public. It is their perception of your company that matters more than any design. As Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos famously stated, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
However, this perception is built over time and evolves into reality. And this reality is your charge to build, protect, and improve. At its best, your brand can hold a sacred place in the hearts and minds of your target audience. One of the best ways to create a favorable and memorable brand as an entrepreneur is to become known as the complete leader. To do that, you need to make sure that your brand’s image is positive, powerful, and lasting.
Here are three ways to influence your audience’s perceptions now so that people’s first, positive impression of your brand has longevity:
1. Own Your Unique Significance
What is that single trait or attribute above all others that signifies your value and promised results? Focus on just one trait, and avoid the temptation of trying to be all things to all people. Let’s face it; being a Jack-of-all-trades is exhausting to you and very confusing to your target client. Attempting to be all things to all people risks diluting your brand message.
Take inventory of yourself and consider some of your most powerful characteristics that have the power to change lives. Determine which one is the most important, or unique. The one that, when people hear your name, will immediately pop into their minds. The one you have cornered and owned in a unique, memorable, and valuable way. For example, Mercedes-Benz owns “engineering,” Steve Jobs owns “innovation,” Disney owns “magic,” and Richard Branson owns “outrageous.”
This is not about becoming self-absorbed or seeking approval from others. Rather, it’s about recognizing your ability to deliver upon a unique promise of value in business. It’s about making the choice to RISE! SHINE! And make remarkable things happen.
2. Be Consistent
In the words of tennis legend Andre Agassi, “image is everything.” This means that your logos, website, marketing material, taglines, visual packaging, social media, tone, and even your personal physical appearance are components of your brand’s image. These all should consistently align with your core message from the inside out. You must be on brand at all times by establishing a consistent message, visually so that your ideal tribe and connected community can recognize you. Like Coca-Cola, whose brand hasn’t changed in decades, you, too, must be recognized as the “real thing.”
For example, as the complete leader, you can and should use your clothing to help define your branded style. After all, people will judge you based on your outer appearance. You do this by creating a “total look” through awareness of what I call your “branded style words.”
Consider the three words you use to describe your brand attributes. These are your branded style words. When you know what these are, express those attributes through your appearance. This way, you create a powerful leadership presence, in business, that reflects confidence, competence, and consistency to your tribe and connected community. Make it your goal to authentically project your best self.
3. Craft Your Brand Promise
Your brand promise is the message that intentionally guides the connection with your tribe and connected community. It makes the commitment to offer value that is relevant. This promise states your significant and unique quality trait, your core values that dictate your actions, appearance, and attitudes, and the benefits that your brand vows to deliver to them.
Your brand promise is a reflection of your story. However, you must seek to communicate and demonstrate that your offerings can solve their problems. It must connect and resonate with them. Consider what you want to be known for delivering that will make their lives better. Find the language to communicate the message of your offering and make sure that it is relevant to your overall brand. Consider what you want to be known for delivering that will make their lives better.
Every time a member of your tribe and connected community comes in contact with your leadership brand, as a business owner, they will experience either a positive or a negative reaction that will ultimately shape their perception of your brand. When it is time for a member of your audience to make a purchasing decision, that perception will determine whether or not they (or their network) will go through with making that purchase. Build your business to last a lifetime, by ensuring that your brand’s promise is clear, relevant, and strong.
Think and plan now to build a positive, favorable image for your brand, and it will create success for you now as well as into the future.