Business branding: 3 questions you must be able to answer
For the past five months I’ve been learning about the Small Business Success Framework developed by Brad Martineau, CEO of Sixth Division. This framework (which I’ve tweaked a little) has proved invaluable in setting the direction of our business.
And it can help you set the direction of yours, too.
In today’s blog I’ll be talking about the first of the framework’s five sections—Brand—and how we’ve adopted it in our business.
Now you might think you’ve got your brand pretty much sorted out. After all, you already have your business name, tagline and logo on your website and business cards. What more do you need?
The truth is, your ‘brand’ isn’t about any of those things. It’s about your business’ purpose, beliefs and values.
What is the purpose of your business?
Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? Your business’ purpose is obviously to help customers and make a profit. But to get the real story you need to come up with answers to three key questions:
1. Who are your ideal customers?
2. What do you do for them?
3. How does that help them?
Be honest when answering these questions. As much as you’d like everyone to be your ideal customer, that simply won’t be the case. (This is why having personas or avatars representing those ideal customers is such a good idea.) And when describing how your product or service helps those customers, make sure you talk about the benefits rather than the features—a common mistake in business.
You also need to come up with answers for three different purpose ‘levels’:
1. Right Now — What you’re currently doing in your business.
2. Big Picture — What you’re excited about doing with your business.
3. Could Be — What might be possible in the future (e.g. launching new products to help the people you want to serve).
Here are the answers as they relate to us at Advise:
Right Now — We help business owners understand the numbers affecting their business through our proprietary management reporting system. We help them automate their business processes, and provide advice on how they can run their businesses better and build their wealth.
Big Picture — We help build small business owners become more successful so they can live their lives the way they want to.
Could Be — Our Evolve 100 program, which is targeted at building more profitable businesses.
What are your business beliefs?
This is probably the most important aspect of your business. Everything else hangs off your business beliefs. In our case, we believe that the best way to predict the future is to invent it.
What are your business values?
Values act as guidelines for how we want to run not only our businesses, but also our lives. They will affect pretty much everything you do in your business, particularly when it comes to recruiting team members. You should hire people with values that are aligned and compatible with your business. In doing so you’ll develop a great culture in the workplace, which will in turn produce better business outcomes.
Here are our core values:
- Think Outside the Square
- Do the Hard Work
- Culture is Everything
- Be the Example
- Walk the Talk
We also include an example with each one to make them clear to both our team members and our customers.
A brand is a feeling, not a look
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said that “a brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. And that’s why defining and reinforcing your business’ purpose, beliefs and values is so important. People may be initially drawn by your logo, tagline or website. But it’s your business philosophy, and how you treat them, that will keep them coming back.
If you’d like to talk about the purpose, believe and values you have for your business, or would like us to help you define them and build a better business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.