The number one focus for most businesses is to have a standout brand that naturally attracts exactly the right sort of customer.
But what if your brand is surrounded by competitors?
What if finding customers is taking far too long?
And when you get them, they don’t want to pay full price?
You are probably dealing with WOFTAM, a waste of time and money and it’s probably driving you mad.
There is a way to stand out from the crowd, have customers lining up to buy from you and have them hand over the money with no questions asked, more than happy to pay for the value they receive from your brand.
It’s all about the 3Rs of brand building that will make your brand become well known, well paid & wanted.
The 3Rs of brand building will make your brand become well known, well paid & wanted.
In the 1970’s our brains were being exposed to about 500 branded images each day. Today it’s over 5,000, so you need to instantly stand out and be recognised to even be considered.
If you are selling online, if you don’t have the 3R’s in your brand, you will fade into the soup of choices, either disregarded or going entirely unnoticed.
Donald Trump once said, “ A business without a brand is just a commodity” and that’s why, if you are sick of blending in and looking like every other brand out there, building these three foundations into your brand message is totally vital.
Without it, you are ‘selling the invisible’ so let’s get into the first of the 3 R’s that will help you build a standout brand that attracts high paying customers.
Becoming recognised as the go-to brand in your sector makes it simple for your ideal customers to notice and choose you.
Everyone recognises Nike by their iconic tick even when the brand name is not visible.
When the kids spot even just one edge of the golden arches they know it’s McDonald’s. Cadburys can be recognised by the purple colour, Coca-Cola by its distinctive white on red waving lines.
We all recognise the sound of a Mac computer being started up, or when the ice-cream truck is heading down our street. Kelloggs owns ‘snap, crackle & pop’, and Schweppes even coined a term for the sound of their brand’s fizz... Schweppervescence.
More than just colours, tones, textures or sounds though, brand recognition is all about the brand personality and the brand culture you infuse into everything you do.
Maya Angelou said it best - “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.
How do you want your brand to make people feel?
“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. Maya Angelou
Brands like the examples provided above not only decided what they wanted to be known for or how they wanted to stand out and be noticed, they also chose the core emotion at the centre of their brand. They built their brand around that emotional connection, digging deep into the physiological effect they could have on their audience.
Then they consistently leveraged their brand personality, using every trick in the brand-building book to make potential customers to notice them at every turn, surrounding them in all media channels with the same brand message.
And they did it over and over again for years. Customers soon knew exactly what they stood for, what made them what they are and they became like members of a familiar family. These big brands became someone they knew, liked and trusted.
The human brain likes what it knows and having a consistent brand is vital to generate recognition and recall, especially in a very cluttered space and especially if the brand has to sell itself online.
The Amygdala or fear centre of the brain relaxes when it recognises a familiar face, but kicks into high alert if something is out of place, so make sure you have a consistent message and a brand story that’s easily relatable and re-tellable which builds your brand reputation (more on that in a minute).
It might be boring to you to keep repeating the same brand messages, but for your prospects, it’s possibly the first time they really notice it and start taking an interest because their brain has been filtering your brand out.
You see there is no way in the world that your brain can take notice of over 5,000 brand messages a day...but it can bring the important brands to your attention.
Consider a time that you decided on a particular make and model of car...once you had decided that was the next car you wanted, did you suddenly see more of them? Perhaps you noticed the advertising for it, or saw the dealerships more as well?
This is called Reticular Activation and is basically the way that your brain filters out things that are not deemed important, only bringing to your attention the things you are really interested in.
A little like Google or Facebook providing ads once you’ve done a search for a topic.
So how can you, with a small brand and budget, create a standout, recognisable brand like the Coca-Colas of the world (and remember they too go it wrong when they ‘improved’ the brand and tried to launch ‘New Coke’ failing dismally because they moved away from their original recipe everyone knew, liked and trusted).
The first step is to make the decision, what do you want your brand to be instantly known and recognised for? Here are some recognition factors to consider:
Get clear on your point of difference and how you can communicate that through everything your brand does.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon once said “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. When it comes to building a brand, especially an online brand that has to sell itself, reputation is everything.
Your brand reputation sets you apart and defines the kind of reviews, testimonials and referrals you can attract, building a following and creating a bigger impact.
Word of mouth is the best form of marketing to build your reputation, for three major reasons;
- 1Unlike most advertising and marketing, it’s free
- 2Word of mouth or WOM is also a third-party endorsement. It’s not you selling your brand it’s someone else, ideally an influencer or key opinion leader saying how great your brand is.
- 3Word of mouth marketing also creates a ripple effect that lasts forever and spreads out to reach customers who you never even knew about.
It’s easy to generate WOM by creating a cascade of influence, getting 100% clear on your ideal buyer or Target Avatar, then working out who they look to for advice and where they get their information from to make purchase decisions.
Then you can target those key opinion leaders and influencers so they know your brand exists and what it stands for. These KOL's spread the word about your brand without actually becoming customers. The early adopters in the market who listen to them, buy and they become your raving fans, telling the wider market about your brand.
So what do you need to do to create and generate a reputation for a brand?
You need to be a PRO.. and consider the Problem, Resolution and the Outcome your brand delivers.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Jeff Bezos
Most people can easily explain the problem that their brand solves, from keeping someone safe to making life easier. The problem may be physical or emotional, obvious or more subjective. Coca Cola for example solves the problem of being unsociable, Nike solves procrastination, Apple makes it easy to be innovative and creative.
Many brands clearly communicate how the brand resolves the problem, the features and benefits of the brand, using dot points, listings and facts to ensure the buyer knows what they are getting.
The trouble is, the human brain doesn’t work in words. It works in pictures and unless you have painted a picture of the outcome, your potential customers may never connect properly with your band, let alone tell others about it.
Here’s an example of how fast the brain paints a picture of an outcome, a fun test for you do do…
Consider these two words and let your brain do what it does…
Bacon and eggs.
What did your brain see?
Chances are you saw breakfast.
But were the eggs fried, poached or scrambled?
Maybe you saw them on a plate, with a coffee?
Or you were in a cafe, or someone had cooked them for you?
Perhaps you saw the pig and the chicken, the origins story.
Your brain painted a picture of the outcome in milliseconds.
And you weren’t even told if they were cooked.
You certainly didn’t see the words, you saw pictures.
When it comes to branding your products and business, you need to be clear about what you want people to say about the brand. Don’t rely on assumption.
Consider your brand personality and the way it communicates to paint a positive picture of the outcome that can be easily repeated, shared and referred to.
For example, you don’t drink a Coke because you are thirsty, you drink it because it’s a socially acceptable beverage, it’s fun, it’s lively. Why do you think this, because all of their advertising has been constantly telling you with its images of people gathering, having fun and being sociable while drinking Coke.
If you are at a party and not drinking alcohol, it’s more than acceptable to reach for a coke. If you are the host you will probably have bought some coke for guests, even if you don’t drink it yourself. Coke has worked for many years to make their brand the socially acceptable refreshing drink of choice.
Bank brands do the same by creating the emotion of stability and reliability, painting the picture of security, growth, success, Real Estate brands feature happy families, excited new home-owners and comfortable retirees, Insurance brands either play on the emotion of fear or the desire for safety, making sure your brain is emotionally charged to make a decision.
Sometimes it can be as simple as telling a brand story using images and shapes to convey the outcome to your customer’s brain.
This is called Neurobranding and an ideal example is Toblerone with the picture of the bear in the mountain of their logo, making it feel like authentic Swiss chocolate all the way from Berne?
The brain loves a story, it's the most natural way to share information, knowing the story will be retained and retold to others. So what do you want people to say about your brand, even without you being there to sell it or share your passion and purpose?
- 1When you think about what you’d like your brand to be wanted for, what comes to mind first?
- 2Do you know exactly who your ideal buyer is and what their problem is?
- 3Are you clearly explaining how you resolve the problem and painting a picture of the outcome your brand delivers?
- 4Have you given your raving fans the right picture in mind so they tell others about your brand, spreading the word and creating that cascade of influence?
- 5What is your brand story? How can you infuse it into your imagery, logo, colours, packaging, marketing and advertising?
A brand sets the ‘trust currency’ of your business because the level of respect people have for your brand correlates directly with how much they are prepared to pay for what you sell.
Consider how people will pay more for a Gucci bag than Furla or Guess… it’s more than just the perception of quality product, the brand is also perceived to be of greater value.
We are living in the age of the authentic brand and you must deliver what you promise, in fact over-delivering is even better.
Even Queen Elizabeth, who has made her share of poor publicity decisions, still has global respect, in fact, she once said “I have to be seen to be believed” because of the respected and almost daunting aura of her personal brand. If you ever get to meet her you are given explicit instructions on how to behave, what to do and even how to pronounce her title of Maam, as in ham not as in harm…
“Do not try to do everything, do one thing well”. Steve Jobs
The one thing valuable brands do so well in order to generate the highest trust currency is consistently showing up as you expect them to. In the words of Steve Jobs, the best brands “Do not try to do everything” they “do one thing well”.
Years ago a business card showed up in my letterbox. The title on the card was ‘Cheap Man & Ute Hire’.
Underneath he listed the range of services he offered. Everything from home maintenance and lawn mowing to bouncy castle hire, pet feeding and Elvis tributes. He was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
His title even included the word ‘cheap’!
What if he had just decided to mow lawns dressed as Elvis? I would pay to see that and I don’t even have a lawn!
He would make the news, probably gather a huge raving fan following and could have franchised his idea, with Marilyn Munro doing your housekeeping and James Dean washing your car, making far more for his services with a stand out brand that people perceived as unique and valuable.
But instead, he was trying to help ‘every Mary in the dairy’. Trying to be everything to everyone.
- 1Do you know exactly who your ideal client is and who your brand is serving?
- 2Are you 100% clear on your niche or category, is your brand staying in its lane?
- 3Do you know the category that you want your brand to show up as the #1 brand in?
- 4What are you actively doing on a consistent basis to create and generate respect for your brand?
- 5If you won an award for this brand what would it be for or if you wrote a book about this brand, what would it be about?
Winning awards and getting in the media are helpful ways to gain credibility, however the #1 thing your brand can do to earn respect is follow the lead of strong personal brands like Gary Vaynerchuk who are constantly giving. Gary once asked his audience why they thought he gave away valuable advice and tips… He said of course it is “because I am building a brand”.
Consciously giving advice, tips and information instead of just selling or directing people to buy from your brand is a good start. Posting helpful comments in Facebook groups, share action steps in LinkedIn articles, post how-to videos on YouTube, guest blog and share articles that are useful and valuable to your ideal buyer - these are all ways your brand can earn respect.
But make sure you schedule this. Choose a day of the week and stick to it. Decide to have a podcast episode a month or a vlog a week and keep going. Gary didn’t instantly have millions of followers, it wasn't until episode 58 that he started gaining real traction...so never give up!
Be careful with your brand voice though. The biggest mistake most brands make when they create organic content is that they focus on promoting themselves, rather than promoting the transformation they deliver for their customers. Make sure you are sharing your customers' journey, reviews, testimonials and sharing your suppliers stories too, thanking them for their help.
Remember the bacon & eggs? Make sure you are painting a picture of the outcome and ensuring you are giving value, targeting the right customers and staying consistent to your brand message.
The most memorable brands paint a picture of the outcome they deliver.
How to start building your brand
One thing that may hold you back now that you know about the 3R’s of branding, is self doubt and worry that your brand does not have anything special to offer or that it doesn’t solve a problem.
You give in to the ‘Itty-bitty-shitty-committee’ in the fear center in your brain, telling you the brand is not that special, not that good or that there are too many risks if it stands out and starts to be seen and noticed.
Let’s get 100% clear, as Grant Cardone says “It isn’t the best that wins, it’s best known that wins”. There is no place in business for modesty.
It’s all about knowing exactly what your brand stands for, engaging with your ideal prospect and making sure you consistently share your brand message with the world.
As a human you are expected to know what’s going on inside the head of your prospect, but consumer behaviour is not one of the subjects entrepreneurs get taught. The most important topic business owners should learn is why people buy. Now is the perfect time for you to start learning.
Neurobranding is the science of how the brain ‘sees’ brands, helping you understand how to ensure your brand naturally engages with customers and uses the influence of the three R’s - recognition, reputation and respect to captivate them using memory and emotion.
Do it well, with a standout brand, and the decision making centre of the brain, the Amygdala recalls your brand above the competition and it engages the brains of your buyers with the emotion your brand creates, directing attention and influencing a purchase desire.
Remembering of course that the human brain, albeit a complex mechanism, really does want things simple. The confused mind will not buy, so make it easy for your prospects to choose your brand.
“It isn’t the best that wins, it’s best known that wins”. Grant Cardone
As Seth Godin said “it’s hard to earn attention, trust and be worth talking about”, but if you can create a remarkable brand, something worthy of remark, you are on the right course for success.
For more help in developing a successful online brand, you can complete the BrandCrafting Program, developed by award winning brand specialists and experienced online sellers.