Branding—it’s one of those business-building strategies you know you must do. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those quasi-nebulous terms that few of us truly understand.
Yes, your brand is your business name, but it extends beyond that.“Your brand is your name, logo and other outward symbols that distinguish your product or service from others in your category,” defines Rebecca James Gadberry, chairman and CEO of YG Laboratories. “Your brand also is your promise ... comprised of both tangible and intangible values that form a relationship with your client. It’s your engine for growth and profitability, therefore, your brand is your most valuable asset.”
Sounds great, right? It’s a bit like the Field of Dreams promise, “If you build it, they will come.” The magic starts when you understand how to build your brand.
What is your motive?
Before you develop your brand, you need to know where you want to go and why, recommends Gadberry. “Clearly identifying your reasons to start a brand, and being honest about your expectations of the brand, will help you know how much commitment you need to make to ensure it’s a success. Big dreams demand big effort and lots of resources. But small dreams can be just as satisfying, especially when your resources are limited.”
Steven Brooks admits he was dreaming big when he and wife Lisa conceived their Diva Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I wanted to build a multimillion-dollar company that could change the world,” he laughs. “But we decided our goal was to create a professional, progressive and profitable beauty business.”
As you build your brand, it’s also important that your motive is clearly interpreted by your audience. “We decided that we always wanted to be the best-have the highest standards and offer the highest quality,” says Lina Heath, vice president of operations for the Eveline Charles Salons and Spas with eight locations throughout western Canada. “But sometimes, people perceive that as meaning you are too exclusive or too expensive, so we have to be very careful how we communicate our message.”
What’s your mission statement?
“A good mission statement is the foundation on which your business is built,” says Gadberry. “Every successful organization begins by knowing why it exists. As your business develops, your mission statement acts as a resource document that can be referred to by you and your staff for guidance when making decisions, identifying your target market, hiring employees and developing successful products and services.”