The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

Branding

Your brand is not just a logo or the colors on your packaging. It's not your nickname, especially if it involves the words "diva", "goddess", "king" or "guy" (I really don't want to be defended in court by "The Litigation Guy").

Your brand is the entire experience people have when they deal with you and your company, from the advertisement they first see, your website, your product or service and most importantly, they way they are treated throughout the process.

I think one of the things that business people miss is they are so focused on trying to be clever or catchy or that all-elusive "viral" that they never put themselves in their customers' shoes. It's not about you. (Sorry.) It's about what you can do for your customer.

You have the opportunity to set yourself apart from every other business in your niche. Branding doesn't just happen. It is a conscious decision on your part to create a positive experience for your clients. So grab a pad of paper, a glass of wine or cup of tea and sit down someplace quiet to ask yourself these questions:

What problems do your clients bring you to resolve?
If you were that person, how would you like to be treated? What would the ideal process be?

How can you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Is it attitude? Is it amenities that you offer? Can you do something extra that shows an extra level of caring?

Here's an example. I took a pair of shoes to be re-soled. Most shoe repair shops look the same: a little dusty, pairs of shoes that have been repaired; some that have not been picked up. Shoes in various states of repair. The smell of glue and leather. This shop was no different.

The man took in my shoes, gave me a ticket and a time to come back. He had the personality of a small plastic soap dish. Not offensive, but nothing to make your head swing. His price was right in line with other shops. When I picked up the shoes, they had been re-soled and re-heeled. But they had not been polished.

Now I know that not every shoe repair place polishes the shoes as part of the service. But it takes about five minutes and makes the shoes look fantastic. It's a way of saying that they are proud of their work. It's an extra bit of service that could make them stand out from their competitors. This guy missed.

Yes, polishing the shoes is a small detail. But it is the type of thing you are looking for to start laying the foundation of your branding. What can you do to make the customers' experience with you different from their experience with anyone else? What can you do to make your customers' experience with you better? Think in these terms and your brand will emerge.

Remember: It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be done.

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