9731594_sA lot of companies make the mistake of trying to determine their brand after they have opened their doors and hit the “on” switch for their web site. Your brand is not your logo, it’s not your catchphrase.

There are four components to every brand:

  • Target customer
  • Competition
  • Product and service mix
  • Unique selling proposition (USP)

A brand is not something that is easily swapped out like a mission or vision statement. It is the very essence of what your company represents, and ideally is woven into its fabric. It is the core value that first comes to mind when a customer thinks of you.

There are some steps to take when determining what your brand is:

  • Know your customers: who they are, why they buy, what those purchases are fulfilling in them, how do they interact with your products/services?
  • Determine what sets you apart from the competition: attributes, benefits, features, performance, quality, service, support, values, etc.
  • Find common values with your customers: love what you do, and they will share your enthusiasm.
  • The customer is always right: treat them like the treasures they are with exceptional customer service. Respond respectfully and dynamically to complaints, suggestions, questions. They are your lifeblood.
  • Grow with them: serve the needs of your clients from soup to nuts.

Like your customer service, your brand must be dynamic. Successful brands are malleable and driven by the customers’ experiences. Customer feedback and economic influences will mold and shape your brand as time marches on. You need to be ready to roll with them.

The ultimate goal is for your brand, and what it represents, to be instantly recognizable to existing and potential customers. They should feel comfortable and compelled to make purchases with you, knowing they will be taken care of.