Scenario: "Dude, forget branding. It's a business buzzword. We'll sell on features. Yay!" Ask yourself:
- Why do people prefer Coke over Pepsi when countless studies confirm Pepsi tastes better?
- Why do people use Microsoft Word when much better alternatives exist?
- Why do masses buy iPods when other music players have better features?
- Why do 980421795151 people drink Starbucks when competitor coffees taste just as good -- and are lower-priced?
Pop-quiz for ya: It's one of these answers:
- a) Ohio State Buckeyes
- b) Branding
If you answered (b), Ding! Ding! Ding! You're right. [If you answered (a), ouch. What in the mutha #@!*&$ happened? Where was your team?!] No matter what you do, somebody out there will one-you-up with better features, lower prices, more bells & whistles, yadda, yadda, yadda. Instead of competing in an arms race, do this sucka: Start building a brand, and watch your company flourish from the ridiculously large pack who think great features & prices automatically make great businesses.
Why You Can't Compete on Features & Prices
Think back to some irrelevant college math class when your teacher started delivering your test scores. Two scenarios likely happened -- depending on your smarts:
"Wow. I know I did horribly. I feel embarrassed. I just know I got the lowest score in the class."What then happened? You get a 60; but, you find little Bucky over in the corner there with a 35.
"I know I did so well. I'm sure I got the highest score in the class. You all = my biatches!"What then happened? You get a 95; but, you find little Benedict sporting his red bow-tie over there with a 105 for some mutha @#$%^& extra credit. Unfair!
How does that relate to business? After some experience building your business and trying to compete on features/prices, you eventually find out: "No matter what I do, no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I refine my products, no matter how much I think my products rock, there's always someone out there who ones-me up. Ahh!!"
We'll Describe a Scenario: Competing on Features
Say you start building a super-awesome broom, but not-just-any ol' broom: "I'll include a built-in vacuum cleaner! Fo shizzle!"
- When your broom-on-steroids gains some success, some entrepreneurial dude three states over hears about your product.
- He builds a broom with the vacuum-cleaner that matches up with your product.
- Then he gets a little entrepreneurial: "I'll incorporate a built-in kite so they can clean and fly kites at the same time! Yay!"
- Uh-oh. The dude's broom-vacuum-kite product makes your product fade into oblivion.
You either have to keep piling on features -- while lowering prices -- or your company dies. That creates one lousy business model that generates lousy profits. So what do you do? Be like Coke, Microsoft, and Starbucks -- get out of the price-&-feature arms race and start branding your kick-booty company to defend against better-features/lower-prices/yadda/yadda. Here's one way to do it.
How to Build Your Brand
(We'll dive deeper into this how-to in a future article.) How can you be like your favorite companies -- those you constantly gravitate toward? Stay true. Cheesy, but it's so right and: Stay true to who you are. You grew up with a unique a personality that made people love you. So, why shouldn't your company?
The Business World's Crime
Too many entrepreneurs/business-builders/etc. dive into the business world thinking: "Oooooooooh, my business gotta be like: _______________. Then people will take me seriously. Yay!" So, they talk corporate speak. They buy books on "How to Communicate Properly in Business." Their businesses become robotic working drones. Nevermind that they start resembling the other 98409127519581 drones out there: "At least they're taking us serously!" they scream. Look suckas: You = boring. Don't be like them. Stay true. Be like David Packard, Sam Walton, Howard Schultz, Henry Ford, and embrace your company's personality -- derived from your entire team. You're already badasses, so by all means: start exploiting it.
Rule of Thumb to Effective Branding
If you remove your logo from your marketing materials, your employee manuals, your ads, your website, your business cards, your front-line employee uniforms, yadda, yadda -- and people still recognize your brand, you're doing super-awesome. You're putting your company's personality-on-display for all-to-see. High-five. The template for ya:
"Forget price-&-feature wars. I'll brand my shizzle."
Posted on January 08
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