Here is the problem: Everyone wants to start their own business, but less than 20 percent know how to create a killer brand.
That means 80 percent fail! Hey, you may be darn good at designing killer websites, but if you don’t brand yourself in a way that makes people love you, good luck with your business – you’ll need it.
They all want to blame the lack of cash for their failure. Yes, the lack of cash is what ultimately goes on the books as the primary reason a business crashes and burns.
Yet there is always a number of key factors that led up to that business not obtaining and/or maintaining that cash flow.
This is where branding comes into play. Imagine you went shopping at a grocery store. At some point, you ended up walking down the beverage aisle.
Have you ever bought those no name brands of soda that simple have “Cola” written across the can (not including time in college – we’ve all succumbed to the no name soda during those times)? Ninety-nine percent of the time we choose a brand we are most familiar with, right? Okay, point made. Now let’s discuss how not to totally murder your brand (if you are building one or already have one established).
- You’re Mimicking 50,000 Other People in Your Not-So Niche
You know why we are heading towards a day and age where everyone will become an entrepreneur? Because by 2030, robots will have taken lot’s and lot’s of people’s jobs. Think I am joking? Think again. This is why people need to learn the art of branding, even if they haven’t taken the proverbial jump.
Here is my chance to clarify something right now: the word niche gets thrown around so much I think people have lost its core meaning. Selling running shoes is no longer a niche. There are thousands of online shops selling running shoes. What would make a running shoe a niche product? Only selling shoes that have been signed by famous athletes. This is because niche means “denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.”
Don’t get caught up in “niche-trends.” What is a niche trend? I didn’t know the term myself until I just typed it, so let me define it: a niche trend is something that started out under the normal definition of the word, but over time everyone started mimicking the leader in said niche in order to get in on the action. And so that I may add another term to the English language, we will call these vultures niche-trenders (I really hope this makes sense).
You have to set yourself apart from the sheeple, man! Take my style of writing. Maybe some don’t like it, maybe others do. But what is important to me is that my articles don’t sound like every other person out there trying to copy the overall internet article style.
Creating a brand means creating a niche! Not following one.
- Unfocused Brands Get Slaughtered: Start Looking More Narrowly
It’s quite amazing how many CEOs and owners of startups have this idea from the get-go that they’ll be able to touch everyone. It won’t happen overnight. As a matter of fact, the likelihood that a company will become a Fortune 50 company like Microsoft or Apple is highly unlikely. I apologize for being the party pooper here, but with 80 percent of startups failing, and another one percent or even less actually making the Fortune 500 list, touching everyone is very unrealistic. And, one more thing: do you think Apple even touches “everyone?”
You need to know what your brand is, why it is what it is, and what actual niche you plan on touching. Brands aren’t only about fancy fonts and awesome websites. Brands have to have character that are appealing.
- Taking Too Long to Explain the Purpose of Your Brand
When you think of the word “brand,” what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it a name, logo, badge, color, a person or a collection of these things? Have you even considered the words you’d use to describe it to people?
For most people, I brand is a promise of quality. But you don’t build a reputation of promising quality until people actually buy into your brand. When you go to the mall to buy a pair of sneakers and you pick up those a pair of Nikes, you know what you’re getting; when you surf the web on Google you know what you’re getting.
These Fortune 50 companies made a promise to their consumers. Then they aligned three parts of their brand: culture, product (including service) and reputation. It goes into what they make, to who they hire, and how they interact with consumers.
Taking too long to explain what your purpose makes people yawn – then they exit stage right.
- Becoming Involved in Things Businesses Shouldn’t Get Involved
Sometimes CEOs and owners of companies want to get involved in things they really have no business (literally) getting their nose in. Even worse are companies that attempt to make up for decreasing sales by doing something that makes sales decrease even more – kind of like Budweiser did.
When the American beer Budweiser got bought out by Belgian beer company InBev, they found that the elusive Millennials lost interest in the brand. What did Budweiser do? Named their beer “America.” They saw it for what it was: a failed attempt at making the now Belgian beer American again. After the campaign, Budweiser saw that only 11 percent of people said they’d choose Budweiser when they went out for a beer. The year before that, Budweiser was promoting drunken rape. So, yeah, not a good run for that brand.
The moral of the story here is simple: don’t get involved in things that will kill your brand – period. Try to have some PC thinking ahead of time. Yet, if you’re lucky, there have been brands who are overestimating backlashes and came back just fine.
- Using Socially as a Brand Strategy
For many a business person, the whole social media channel eludes them. They see it as a strategy more than a channel. And this is a huge mistake.
Believe it or not, there was a time when social media gurus laughed at the thought of monetizing social media. They scoffed at measurement, strategy, and objectives. Sound weird, right? For them social media was about being social, not about selling stuff – it was a perversion of the whole idea.
Nevertheless, as they all do, even the “purists” have succumbed to the almighty dollar.
What you should understand, though, is that engagement is not a strategy. A strategy would be to create something no one else can company can copy. An example of this would be Tesla Motors. They rule the battery storage game and have been for some time.
Going on Facebook or Twitter trying to sell t-shirts with those two avenues as your only strategy will just leave you lost within a huge school of fish in a vast, vast ocean of sharks.
Have you read?
The One Simple Step that Sets Your Sales Team up for Success
4 Tips for Millennial Entrepreneurs to Succeed
Top 25 U.S. Universities Offering Most Affordable Online Business Degrees, 2017
Showcase Your Farsightedness in Startups – Get the Most Viable Tips
Tips for running an online business successfully