The old-time rancher never claimed that his brand of beef was better than another’s brand of beef. He was concerned only with communicating ownership. Modern marketers, by contrast, are creating and defining their uniqueness and then, communicating their brand for purposes of marketing.
Strategies You Can Use to Define Your Brand
The process of defining your brand is important for the new business crafting its mission and vision. It is also relevant for the business that is revising, as in a merger or decision to take on a new service, or when wanting to redefine its services. It is also a process that can be useful to assess how well you are aligned with your mission and vision. Has your culture “slipped” away from its promises?
Whether defining, redefining or aligning, we have ten strategies for you to consider. We will outline five this week and the remaining five in our next blog. If you want examples and details, see our article, entitled, Are You a Breed Apart? in the April issue of TRENDS magazine published by the American Animal Hospital Association.
1. Understand your objectives.In branding or rebranding you want your clients and prospective clients to see your service as the only one that provides a solution to their problems. Ask yourself: what does your practice stand for? What do you want your practice to be known for? What do you want your clients to say about you? What do you want to tell your clients?
2. Gather your stakeholders.You want the people who care about your business to be involved in the branding process. This certainly means your staff. You may also want to include loyal clients or specialists who are dependent upon your success. Depending on the size of this group, it may be wise to invite a subset of the group to do the initial thinking. In the end, however, you will need buy-in from all of your staff and, hopefully, your other stakeholders.
3. Know your competition. How are you unique among the many services available in your area? Do you have a more qualified staff? Do you provide services and expertise that your competitors do not provide? Can you provide your services faster? Safer? More effectively? More efficiently? Cheaper? Are you more conveniently located for your clients? Answer “yes” to any of the above and you have the start of a unique brand.
4. Know yourself. You may have a unique practice. Kate Turner, owner of Happy Tails Bed & Biscuits created a unique pet grooming and boarding business which she says she “made up as she went along,” because she loves dogs and knows what the pets and their owners want. She has no employees and provides personal attention to all of her boarders by herself, walking the dogs four times a day (now that’s unique) and providing supervised playtime. What unique twists have you, maybe unwittingly, added to your practice?
5.Use your right brains. An exercise that might get your group thinking of how it views itself (or how it might like to be viewed) can involve pictures. Gather clippings from magazines that evoke different feelings, such as compassion, concern, hope, fear, joy, or success. Distribute them and invite members of the group to choose one or more that they think describes your practice (or, how they would like your practice to be viewed). Invite all members of the group to discuss their choices.
These five strategies should get you started. Let us know how they work. Then check back for our next blog for another five things to stoke the fire.
That’s all for today.
Carolyn and John
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