Originality means everything if you want to be a substantial option. Brands that are viewed as similar-to-a-competitor never last long, because the original is almost always better.
An original brand is more than just a logo and business name. It’s more than a color scheme and an ‘About Us’ page. Brand is everything about your business… how customers view you and what they remember the most.
There is a part of your brand that you have absolutely no control over. As soon as you understand that, the better off you will be. The rest of it, however, can be identified by asking these questions…
Whoooo are yooooou?
What experience do you have in your industry? The years you’ve worked as a ____ are not as important as sharing your experience… which is a collection of your passion, knowledge, successes (and maybe even struggles, challenges, or failures) and your understanding of your industry from the inside out. Destroy any walls that divide you (business owner) and your audience.
How can you relate to the customers, and how can they relate to you? More importantly, why should any customer trust you?
You won’t ever find the answer to this question by looking at a competitor, because the only correct answer is all-about-you.
Why do you do what-you-do?
If the first thought that comes to mind regarding this question has anything to do with money, quit now.
Working for the money is a horrible way to love, and an even worse reason to launch a business. On the other hand, you are likely to be very successful if you do what-you-do because you love what-you-do.
Dig deeper. Why do you love it? What makes it so important or special to you? Find tangible proof that you are somebody who can be trusted to put in genuine effort when doing what-you-do.
What is your signature dish?
To be a successful business, you probably offer more than just one product or service. And they should all be good, but there should be one staple dish that is the very foundation of your business. This will probably be the primary service that you enjoy offering most, or the service that is most often recommended or offered.
Now these next two questions may be reviewed regularly, because these have to do with the elements of your brand that is beyond your control. Also, the answers may change from time to time and an effective brand has to know how to adapt.
Who do you work best for?
You can’t make everyone happy. Some people will prefer your competitor(s) over your brand. Deal with it. Pay attention to the types of customers you serve and take notes. Over time, you may find common similarities. If you offer B2B services, you may identify there is a specific industry you work best for. If you offer services to customers, you may discover that you frequently serve a very specific age range of customer.
In any case, knowing who you work best for helps you eliminate those you don’t service often, so you can fine tune your marketing to focus on a very narrow and specific audience. Because it’s awesome when you see an advertisement that speaks directly to you!
What do your customers love most about you?
If you’re lucky, customers will give you regular praise and testimonials about why they love doing business with you.
Not everyone is that lucky, so you might have to ask. Surveys are a good way to collect customer feedback.
Keep in mind that customers are more likely to publish a negative review than a positive review, but the most effective way you can get the right kind of feedback is to focus on going above and beyond to do more than just offer a service… build relationships with each customer. Do that as often as possible, and you’ll probably find that “quality customer service” is something every customer loves most about you.