What is a Brand?
Brand: The set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.
Why is Brand Important?
First things first… even (especially) small and micro businesses need to have a good sense of self, and portray that to the outside world in everything you do and say. Each interaction you have with a customer – potential, current, or former – will either reinforce your brand or erode it. If you can’t define your own brand, how do you expect your customers to do so?
Think about it this way: In your personal life, you know who you are – and act accordingly in all situations. What do you think would happen if you were introverted today, outgoing the next? Or dependable today, but a little flaky tomorrow? We need predictability in our lives. We need to know what to expect from the people, and businesses, that we interact with. There are so many things changing around us every day, and so many things to deal with, it helps us cope. These types of inconsistencies would likely lead to the people around you questioning why you are trying to be something you aren’t. AND… when our experiences don’t match our expectations, we spend so much time and energy adjusting your expectations (or wondering what’s different) that it’s difficult to fully participate in the interaction. Put another way – Do you want your customers reading the content of your email and responding appropriately, or wondering why this one looks different from the last 3 you sent? The same way that we tell ourselves and our friends to just “be yourself,” we need to follow the same advise for our businesses. Really, it is the only way to build those meaningful relationships with your customers. Know who you are. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. And show your “personality,” or brand, in everything you do. Now, ask yourself: What one thing do you want to be known for? How do you want to make people feel?