As a growth strategist I work with a lot of clients on branding and marketing. It's hard to grow a business, get sales, and create customer relationships without either a brand, or the marketing that supports it. Although I see many entrepreneurs try.
And it amazes me, that even with tons of free information available, and hundreds of marketing coaches in the business, that entrepreneurs still struggle with the processes of branding and marketing. I have my guesses why, but one reason I know for a fact is that most entrepreneurs think it takes too much time to do these steps right. And, the one thing entrepreneurs don't think they have enough of is time.
There are so many questions that get answered when a business owner does branding work. A brand creates a businesses' look, feel, and hook. The right branding work helps an entrepreneur have an idea of whether their vision will fly, it gives her a clearer image of her ideal client, and identifies a USP or UVP for her business.
Yes, you can do branding work without professional support, but why would you? Branding is so foundational to your business that it would be like building a house on your own without knowing anything about design, or construction. Working with an expert helps you ask the right questions, take the right steps, and focus on the right things. A lot of entrepreneurs think branding is the way the house looks (logo), but branding is actually the foundation. And, every home needs a foundation if it is to stay standing long after the hammer gets put away.
Branding answers the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of your business mystery. And, we know from reading Nancy Drew books that without figuring out these facts, we never find out who committed the crime, and why they did it. And, more important, without a trained eye we miss critical clues.
So, what happens after you know these answers? They become the basis of your marketing plan. Marketing is the steps including, pricing, packaging, product, and promotion of taking your brand to market. Once you know your what (your brand), marketing is everything you need to do - advertising, promotion, public relations and merchandising, to help people FIND YOUR BRAND.
Branding gives you purpose. It is the dart board for your game called business. It's the canvas on which you will paint success. It's the focal point of your "Knock 'em Dead" outfit. At the end of the day, it's the one thing you protect more than money because it's your treasure. It's your personality. It's your reputation. It's your essence. It's there whether you define it or not, and if you don't define it you risk having your competition and customers define it for you.
So branding is important. It is your EVERYTHING. And, I mean EVERYTHING. Without it, your business will suffer. You business will feel out of place. It will experience confusion, frustration, and overwhelm. It will lead you to misguided and unsuccessful attempts at selling.
With it, peace. Confidence. Purpose. Yes, your brand is that important.
So, if branding does all this, what does marketing do?
Marketing is the steps you take to get your brand noticed. By the right people. At the time they're making decisions. Marketing is the process of building visibility and credibility. It gets your prospects to consider you a viable option to solve their challenge. Marketing is a people mover. An engager. It brings people into your tribe (and gives prospects a way out of it as well). Marketing has one job and that is to get your brand noticed.
So, without a brand, there is no reason to market. And, without marketing even the most solid of brands fade away into oblivion.
The world is not at a loss for great ideas. The world is at a loss for those ideas to be formed into a brand, and then marketed in a way that gets the right people to see it. So the next time you think about upleveling your business, focusing your business, or finally figuring out what you need to do to grow your business and get results, think your brand. And then, plan your plan. And you will be taking the first step on the path to your success.
Abigail Tiefenthaler is the founder of Sweetspot Strategies, Inc. She helps small and mid-sized companies clarify, prioritize, and simplify their marketing and income producing activities for greater success. Her FREE Guide: "7 Deadly Mistakes That Sabotage Your Business and Cause You to Lose Customers (and Money)" identifies potential sabotage patterns in your marketing so you can address them and start creating marketing that grows your business. Download it today: http://www.sweetspotstrategies.com/7-deadly-marketing-mistakes/
Abigail's goal is simple, build a brand that positions a business as different and unique, then simplify marketing so it can attract the right prospects.
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