A key to building a strong brand is communicating to your clients why they should do business with you and not your competitors. What is it that makes you different from everyone else?
Most business owners I know struggle with this question, but if you’re serious about growing and building a brand that doesn’t compete on price, you need to know what you have that no one else has. Even more importantly, you must know what your business has that would be difficult for someone else to copy. So how can you figure that out?
Step #1 – analyze your competitors. If you don’t know what your competition is doing, you can’t truly say that what you’re doing is different. Start by making a list of your top 5 competitors; those whose customers you would like to have and who would like your work. If you were to stop people in your target market and say you are new to town and looking for a someone who provides whatever product and services your business provides, who would they recommend? You can actually stop people and informally poll them to get a good understanding of who your competition is if you don’t have any idea. Once you have a list of your top 5 competitors, look at their product mix and the experience the offer. What is it that they are doing that is hard for you or anyone else to copy? Why do people go to them and not you or another competitor? NOTE – Price is not a sustainable competitive advantage, as there is always someone willing to go lower.
Step #2 – looking for your different. Now it’s time to look closely at what you are doing or could be doing. You’ve looked at your competitors. Now talk to your loyal clients, the ones who would come to you no matter how high your prices are. And no, your best friend and mother do not count! You probably have at least one or two clients if not many who you can think of who are really loyal. Why do they do spend their money with you and not your competitors? What do they love about your products and services? Invite them to coffee or in for a special treat and pick their brains. Find out why they love you.
Step #3 – inventing a new different. If after interviewing your best clients you still can’t figure out what makes you different, or you’re having trouble communicating those differences to potential clients to get them to choose you, then it may be time for you to invent a new different. What is it that you could be doing that your competitors aren’t doing and would have trouble copying? What do you hear your target audience saying they are frustrated with and can’t find solutions for? Is there an experience you’ve had and loved in another industry that you could bring to your business that would overjoy your customers? Could you uniquely package your products with another business to offer a complete experience that would be appreciated by your clients? Keep your eyes and ears open for ways to bring something completely new to your market.
Building a strong brand doesn’t happen over night, but it’s the foundation for a profitable boutique business. If you skip a step in building this foundation, you’ll likely have to call in a contractor (marketing or design team) 3 years down the road to fix some major problems due to the shortcuts you took early on. What kind of problems? Well the problems we see everyday are: having to rebrand a business because you attracted the wrong type of clients as well as competing on price and being known as a discounter because you didn’t invest in creating a brand from day one.
We created Jumpstart Your Brand in 21 Days so you can avoid having to call in that contractor down the road. This 45 page PDF with daily audio lessons walks you through step-by-step how to create a strong brand. At the end of the 21 day program, you’ll have a business name, tagline, colors, fonts, style guides and more and be ready to promote and attract the right clients. You’ll understand what makes you different and the perception of you relative to your competitors by those in your target audience. If you’re just getting started or have been in business a while and are struggling with attracting the wrong clients, check out Jumpstart Your Brand in 21 Days.