Whether you began your business 25 years ago, or yesterday, you probably answered some foundational questions before embarking on your venture. Do I have an entrepreneurial spirit? Is there adequate funding? Do I need a business plan? Do I have enough Expertise?
Everyone’s got their top 10, but there’s one essential and often overlooked question that should be asked at the outset, and revisited throughout the life of any business.
What unique and intrinsic purpose informs our philosophy and enhances our offerings?
This touches upon the heart and soul of brand essence.
Not only is it essential to know how your idea, product or service is different from your competitor’s, it’s equally important to acknowledge what inherent values are built into the dynamic of your company that make it unique.
When you understand the importance of each, and the differences between them, you can use them as powerhouse tools to connect you with more loyal customers, and guide your entire team toward greater success and revenue.
If the answer doesn’t come easily, a trip to the boardroom (aka living room coffee table for some) may be in order to dig deeper into your company purpose and mission.
Top 5 Questions:
- What are the 3 core beliefs behind our business? (WHY we do what we do.)
- Who do we cater to and how do we do it?
- What are the top 3 strengths of our business and its leaders?
- What’s our focus? (product development, cutting-edge technology, customer service)
- What makes us special as a team?
The point of this exercise is to take inventory of the individual and collective strengths that form the core of your organization. It clarifies not only who you are, but why you do what you do, and often reveals disparities between company purpose and methods of working, hiring and marketing.
How Do We Use Brand Essence?
Once you’re clear on what values define your organization, infuse them into all aspects of your company until they become the living, breathing personality that represents your business.
You want us to put our personality at the forefront of our company? What if people don’t like us?
Some businesses are thrown by this prospect. Truthfully, if they didn’t like you, you probably wouldn’t have any business at all. Knowing why they like you is the key to unlocking “how might they like us more?” thereby helping you deepen those relationships.
Customers are attracted to you based on like-minded philosophies and expectations. The closer your business practices are aligned with your mission, the better customers will relate not only your products, but to your company as a whole.
Allow customers to be part of something greater than “we sell this do-hickey, wanna buy one?” Tapping into purpose (or brand essence) can help you cultivate a more loyal following based on shared beliefs.
Two short & sweet references that may surprise you:
How often do you think about what makes you stand out as a business? Has your focus changed since you started, and how do you refine this? Please share your pearls in the comments!BRANDING FOR SMALL BUSINESS
In Branding for Small Business Part III – Brand Culture, I’ll go over how to put your brand into the driver’s seat of your organization.