A business is systems and processes.
A brand is the distinct and ownable value that those systems and processes bring to your customers and people.
When you start a business, what you want is for the business to ultimately run itself without you being there. When that happens, you have a business, and therefore it means that you can replicate it by being in more than one geographical area. Perhaps even better, these days, sometimes all you need is just one physical space and an online presence.
If you want to build a brand, you have to make sure that even if people don’t really know nor care about your systems and processes, what they do care about is their belief that you are the best if not the only option for whatever they may need.
What is value?
Value is the deep belief (that people have) that even with many options that are available, there’s only one brand that is able to satisfied their needs. Value is the smile you put on when you pay for something, and have the peace of mind that it will be worth it. Value is the return on investment for customers that can either be expected, unexpected and or both.
How do you build value?
You have to do your homework. The concept of value is tightly linked to the concepts of distinction and differentiation. Why? Because value means what people get from you they don’t get anywhere else (at least that’s what they should believe), because if they did, then your service or product would just be a commodity or another option in their repertoire. You would be just ‘one of…’.
What it means to do homework.
Doing your homework means knowing what competitors offer, so that you can offer it better or differently. Your homework should give you a better understanding of what people need. There’s no point offering a service based on assumptions.
‘Value’ is the concept or idea of getting ‘more’. ‘More’ means doing things that are not part of the script, or taken for granted. For example, in your business, if you make it your unspoken rule to learn every customer’s name, you would be literally defining your brand’s value in the eyes of you customers. You’d be building a friendship, not a customer-client relationship.
Building a brand is not only about billboard advertising or social media posts, sometimes, and perhaps even more impactful, building a brand may simply come from how you design your service experience when you engage with customers. You can build an entire new way that people experience your brand or business. Doing this will set you apart from competitors, thereby giving you an edge. When you do this, you will be teaching your customers to expect more from your competitors, beyond systems and processes. This comparison is what elevate your services head and shoulders above the rest, making you an obvious stand out choice.
Starting a business is only half the job, the rest rests on you investing on your brand. To do so, you need a strategy.