One of the most important things to consider before opening the doors to your new business either online or a local brick and mortar store, is to know the image or brand you want people to associate with it.
Let’s start by looking at businesses you know and the brand they use to tell their story. That’s what your business brand really is, it’s your story. Your brand helps your customers know what to expect from you.
I like to compare it to pro wrestling in the late 1980’s. Every entertainer that wrestled back then had a brand. I knew that Hulk Hogan would always do the right thing and Jake the Snake Roberts would cheat.
Because I knew that about the characters, when I watched them wrestle, I could anticipate what would happen in the match and it made it more exciting. The same is true of your business brand.
I use Starbucks in my examples because they’ve built a really strong brand that most of us know. I believe that Starbucks is aware of global issues and tries to help people in need. They understand and nail it when it comes to customer loyalty in regards to customer service.
I know that when I walk into a Starbucks, the barista will welcome me with a smile and I’ll pick up my drink in the familiar cup, sleeve, and coffee regardless if I’m buying it here in Phoenix before I catch a plane, as I’ll experience at the Starbucks in New York when I land.
Amazon is completely different as a brand and that’s OK. When I order something from Amazon, I expect an easy checkout experience and efficient delivery of that item to me. I don’t expect much human interaction at all. In fact, it’s awkward if I have to talk to the Amazon Prime delivery driver. I don’t expect it like I do at a Starbucks.
Southwest took air travel and changed it. By making me line up like a kid in elementary school waiting to come in from recess, Southwest made me re-think traveling. I’ll be honest, flying always felt like I was fighting everyone else to get the seat I wanted so I could judge other travelers for wanting to overcrowd MY flight.
Now, lining up makes us talk to one another while we wait to board. Now, when I walk past folks I’ve talked to in the queue to board, I smile. We’re in this flight together is the mood I feel when I fly Southwest.
That feeling of family carries over to the flight crew. I’m greeted with an informal “welcome aboard” type phrase that immediately makes me feel like I’m part of the family. The cabin crew will stop and chit chat about their day freely as I’m getting seated, and that too builds on their “you’re part of our family” brand.
Those are three examples of how I view some popular brands. The exercise here is to think of a few businesses you use and know. Think about how you feel when you shop at a certain store. Think about how it makes you feel to see a company’s logo. The best test is ask yourself if you would put a sticker with a company’s logo on your laptop or car. As yourself, “Do I want people to know I love this brand?”.
Really examine and consider what story you want your customers to tell when they talk about your brand. In my next article, I’ll share with you how to start building the look AND feel of your businesses brand and how to communicate that story with the world.