(Image in this post from stock.xchng)
Attention: Business Owners, Managers, Salespeople and Professionals
Let’s make something clear upfront – when it comes to branding, we see four attitudes among business owners, managers and professionals:
- I don’t need a brand
Wrong! If you just sell products or services, you will fail in today’s hyper-competitive world.
We realize that’s tough talk, but tough love is still love. That’s what entreprenurturing is all about – to buck you up when you need it and give you a kick in the seat when appropriate.
So if this is your attitude, we hope you feel a slight pain in your posterior!
- I know I need it but I don’t know where to start
Then you’re in the right place! We’ll help you get started today in this article.
- I’ve got an idea but I don’t know how to refine it
Great! That’s the real point to this article.
- I got it!
Then help us all out by sharing how you did it. How did you reach this point? What was your process? Just leave a comment below so everyone can benefit from your entreprenurturing!
Your brand helps you cut through the clutter in the marketplace. But there’s another kind of clutter…
Your own mental clutter. At least this is what we’ve experienced. The mind is a BIGG space and we had a lot of space junk!
So it took us time to get this down. And that’s the first thing we want to share with you:
This is a creative process. It takes time, effort and energy. You can only think about it so much in one sitting. Then the returns become miniscule relative to the returns.
So think about it. Then get away. The good news is your brain will keep working on it. Your best discoveries will likely come when you’re working on it implicitly, but not explicitly.
As with us and BIGG Success, there are so many things you could do with your business. Most likely, there are so many things you want to do with it.
But strategic branding is all about eliminating options. You need to choose.
May we have a word about your business?
BIGG success is life on your own terms. Since your business is part of your life, what is your term for your business? At its essence, what is it all about?
May we have a word about your business? When you can describe your business in a single word (or even a short phrase), you instantly cut through the clutter in your own mind.
You can also communicate better with your existing and future customers. You stand out from the crowd.
Before we go on, we want to address the look of utter fear we see on a few faces. We hear your question:
Won’t I turn a lot of people away? I mean, if I say my whole business is about this one term, won’t people who don’t relate to that word go somewhere else?
To which we respond:
Yes they will! And good riddance!
It’s not because they’re bad people; we’re not judging that.
It’s because they’re the wrong people. And you know what happens when you attract the wrong people to be your customers?
They’re miserable. And they let you know it! So you’re miserable. Misery loves your company!
You’ll get discouraged. The passion you once felt will be gone. The energy you brought to bear every day will be fleeting. The dream will become a nightmare.
But even worse – you won’t make the kind of money you should. So the result is financial trouble coupled with emotional turmoil.
May we have a word about your business? It will help you attract the right customers who are thrilled with what you do, willingly pay you to do it, and tell others how great you are.
Turning boring into remarkable
Let’s look at an example. And let’s tackle a tough one – selling insurance.
It’s not like groceries. We don’t think about it everyday. For most people, insurance is a boring subject.
Even worse, it means being forced to think about things you don’t really want to think about. Other than an annual review, most people only think about it when they pay a bill (a negative) and when they have a claim (another negative).
We were talking about branding with an insurance broker. He got it.
He came up with the term “protection” – he wants to help protect his customers. That’s admirable. It’s also marketable.
We explained how he could easily create a content marketing strategy around his term. Only he needed to change the way he thinks.
He should think less like an insurance broker and more like a protector. What do his customers need protection from?
Wow! Does that ever open the doors!
Do you see what just happened? In our earlier discussion, we discussed the fear that defining your business with a single term would drive people away. And we noted it will.
But notice how it simultaneously expands your opportunities. There are a lot more people interested in protection than insurance.
And they’re the right people for this insurance broker to talk to, because that’s his specialty. There’s mutual interest.
So how does he market his business? Here are the options we suggested:
- Share information
He can share articles in his social media spaces about everything from FDIC insurance and protecting kids online to identity theft.
Note that he does not have to write any articles. He just “aggregates” (that’s the buzz word) great content from others that he thinks will help his current and future customers.
He may “curate” (another buzz word) the content with a quick comment – “New trend in identity theft: you’re no longer you, someone else is” – or a short summary.
Did you click on that link? We bet a lot of you did. That’s the power of this concept.
- Highlight resources
He can also share great resources with his customers and prospects. For example, he could review the book Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting, and Bullying for Good.He could give out refrigerator magnets or mobile phone sticky cleaners with emergency numbers for his market area. Of course, his name and contact info would be all over it as well.
- Participate in events
When there are events that have to do with protection, he should participate in any (and every) way he can. For example, he may look for events which benefit first responders.Ideally, he gains “ownership” of an annual event. He may not have the resources to do this immediately. However, he should “pencil it in” on the calendar so he has a goal for when he will do it.
Local clubs and organizations are often looking for interesting speakers on a diverse range of topics. If he is so inclined, he should take every opportunity to share his knowledge with them.His topic could be something like “10 Ways to Protect Yourself in the Digital Era”. As his final point, he could discuss creating a digital home inventory using a service like DocuHome. Then he could naturally discuss homeowner’s insurance.
- Get press
Are you starting to notice our insurance broker isn’t your grandfather’s insurance broker? He definitely stands out.More importantly, he’s doing things that are newsworthy. So he could reach out to the local media to share his wisdom about protection with radio listeners, TV viewers, and newspaper and magazine readers.He may become their go-to guy. When a topic about protection arises and they need an expert, they will reach out to him.And remember – this is free publicity!
Take all the activity above and you quickly see how our insurance broker’s website can instantly stand out from his competition.
You see a blog post about the upcoming Fireman’s Steak Fry that he’s proudly sponsoring. He talks about the fundraising goal and what specific program will be funded if it’s achieved.
He’s leveraging the public appearances he’s made. There’s a link to the morning show he was on last week. He’s embedded a clip of the interview he did on the local evening news. There’s a video of his speech to the local Rotary Club.
Of course, you’ll also see resources which educate you about protecting your family with insurance. And his contact info is prominently displayed on every page.
You also couldn’t help but notice…
…he publishes a newsletter. And he lets you know it – every page of his site has a signup prominently displayed.
Most insurance providers talk insurance, insurance, insurance in their newsletters. But he’s not like them.
He’s building a list of people interested in protection. So he mentions insurance as part of the broader subject, when it makes sense.
Do you see what’s happening here? He’s not directly profiting from most of his activities. However, that’s exactly the reason his customers trust him so much.
They know he’s all about them, not all about himself. They also know he has to pay his bills. So when he does bring up insurance, he faces no resistance.
- Paid advertising
Even with all the activity we’ve outlined above (and remember, these are options – you wouldn’t likely do all of them), there is still a case to be made for reaching out to a broader audience.It’s still the fastest way to find the people you want. So our insurance broker may use traditional media (e.g. radio advertising) to drive people to his website.Did you notice what we just did? We just integrated two media into one campaign. It’s a tried-and-true method to get more out of your paid advertising.Only now – with the web sitting in the background – you can tell part of the story with your paid ad. Then send them to a special page for more information (e.g. YourBiz.com/wxyz)The primary benefit of this is to carry on the conversation. You know what the visitor is interested in, based on the copy in your radio ad (or whatever medium you’re using).
The secondary benefit is you can track hits to that page. So you have a sense of whether your paid advertising is paying off!
Would you want to do business with an insurance broker like this? We sure would!
Most people avoid insurance people. But our guy is a protector. Sometimes insurance is the best vehicle for doing that.
What is your term?
Hopefully, you see the value of having a word about your business or personal brand. But you may still be confused about how to go about arriving at one.
You’re not alone. We struggled with this for years (literally).
Our term of course is entreprenurturing. That’s what BIGG Success is all about.
It’s amazing how conversations open up when people ask the natural question: “What’s BIGG Success?”
We reply: “BIGG Success is your place for entreprenurturing.” If we’re talking with the right people, we instantly get follow-up questions. If not, we get blank stares. What a time and resource saver!
You can do the same. Like us, you may arrive at a “made-up” term. That’s good – you can own such a term (legally and in the market). Of course, if an existing term works (e.g. “protection”) and you don’t care about owning it, that’s fantastic.
Our only caveat would be to make sure it’s not a term someone else is using effectively in your market. There are too many ways to niche yourself today to create confusion in the market with a term someone else is already using.
Here are our suggestions for how to find a word about your business:
- Find your creative zone
You need to be in a creative mood for this exercise. So we recommend that you find your creative zone – whether that means peace and quiet or rock and roll, solitary or public, home or away.For us, we like to get close to nature. So we usually find some BIGG water. Then we sit down in front of it and brainstorm together.We accompany that times when we contemplate individually. We each have our own style for that.
- Keep it simple
The two of us can get mired in complexity if we’re not careful. We have learned that you have to get past the complexity to the simplicity.Here’s what we suggest: Get out a sheet of paper or open up a blank document. Start writing or typing every term you can think of that relates to you and your business.We prefer the hand-written approach because it’s easier to work with afterwards. But as we always say – if it works for you, it works. So don’t let our method stop you from using the best method for you.Look at your terms. Is there one that strikes you? Start looking for combinations. Is there something that resonates?
- Check out your competitors
You want to innovate, not duplicate. However, looking at your direct and indirect competition will help you brainstorm. More importantly, it may help you see a gap in the marketplace.That’s what happened with us. Entreprenurturing is where the art and science of entrepreneurship meet.It nurtures both the entrepreneurial mind and spirit. Not only was that space wide open, it perfectly fit our personalities and what we wanted to do with our business.
- Get a coach (or an outsider)
We can’t emphasize this enough. We may never have discovered it on our own. But with the guidance of our coach – who is a branding genius – we found our term!If you can’t afford a coach, get the opinions of friends and colleagues or turn to your fellow members by asking a question below.
- Give it time
As we said before, this is a process. You may arrive at your term in a short time. However, that probably means you’ve been “stewing” on it for a while.That’s actually what happened with us. We planned a session with our coach to come up with a term to define BIGG Success.We were only minutes into the conversation when we brought up “entreprenurturing”. Our coach loved it!Here’s the funny part – we had come up with the term about a year before. But we were thinking of it as a product, not as the term to describe BIGG Success.That’s why we recommend getting a coach so highly! A great coach will help you reach BIGG success!
Now it’s your turn:
If you don’t have a term for your business, what questions do you still have after reading this article?
If you do have a term, how did you arrive at it? Be a hero by sharing your experience with all of us.