What can you say or do better than any other company offering services or individuals you may be competing against that will ultimately sell your brand and pool customers? Answering this question will require you to identify some things that truly are unique because you’re looking for that idea that people care about but that no one else has thought about. In this episode, learn how you can big brand yourself or your services with that big brand idea that’s significant, relevant, and meaningful.
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Big Brand Yourself Or Your Services
Big brand yourself or your services? This is a topic that is dear and important to me because it reminds me of a speaking gig that I had not long ago. Someone came up to me at the end of my talk and said, “I think it’s a lot easier to brand a product than a service because with the product it’s a tangible item. Before I even have to pay any money, I often can sample the goods. I can see, taste, touch, smell or hear what that product is about. I can’t do that with myself. I can’t do that through services or any intangibles.” I went on to tell him that I disagree because it’s a lot easier to brand, especially big brands, any expertise, skilled talent or ability than it is a physical product.
What lies at the core of big branding yourself or services is your amazing ability to improve people’s lives or businesses. I’m using the word, improve, but you may choose a different word but it’s all about the impact that you make available through those gifts, skills, talents, abilities, your expertise, what it is that you have. I went on to mention the names of some very well-known and quite remarkable service brands that started off small and became blockbuster brands: Stanley Steemer, Skype, eBay, Aflac, Supercuts, DHL, COIT, Vistaprint, SuperShuttle, Crunch Gym and the list goes on.
I talked about some of the personal brands. I said, “Does the name H&R Block ring a bell? What about Craigslist? What about Angie’s List, Gucci, Wolfgang Puck, Edward Jones, Tony Robbins, Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Roz, Rachel Ray and so on and so forth?” The point I’m making here for those of you who are reading this is don’t feel as F. It’s going to be more and more challenging for you to brand yourself or your services than a simple product. You must stand out, get noticed, be remembered and then desired. That can certainly happen as long as you are giving something to people that people want and are willing to pay for. To think otherwise means that you may put yourself in the proverbial trap of having to rely upon marketing and selling to get more results, to be more successful and make more money.
A lot of times when you go down that route, you may be finding yourself utilizing marketing tactics and techniques that could be quite filled with a lot of rejection. There are non-responsive low rates of return, totally lousy and useless. You end up saying the wrong things, the wrong way to the wrong people, stuff like, “We’re the fastest, the oldest, the lowest, the highest, the smartest, the largest, etc.” The worst part is that when you start relying upon the marketing and the selling as the way to get sales for your skills and expertise, you’re going to find yourself bumping up against a very skeptical, mistrusting and the cautious buying public. The typical response might be, “Not now, go away. I need to think it over. I tell you what, I’ll get back to you. You didn’t understand. Read my lips. No, I’m not interested.” Meantime, you’re trying to make enough money because you’ve got a mortgage or rent to pay. You may have kids, car payments, elderly parents you would take care, student loans, business expenses. All of these can make you feel stressed out, troubled, upset, worried, frustrated, drained and irritated.
The shift that I’m asking you to have here is to focus more on the question that everyone wants to know as a potential customer in terms of what it is that you offer. That is, how you are different and why are you better than others who do what you do or think that they know what you do or people who do the same thing. Start asking yourself some questions. Questions like, what do you want your target customer to know they can count on receiving from you? What will they get for their money in terms of improvements or benefits to their life, job or business? Can you solve an annoying problem they have? Can you improve an outcome for them? Can you produce some miraculous result? Can you help people feel a certain way or a positive way about something? Put yourself in their shoes and then craft your brand around those items.
As I talked about in episodes three and four, this is all about looking out into the marketplace and asking yourself, “Where’s my opportunity?” Where’s that opportunity to fill a void in terms of what people are looking for from someone like yourself that they presently cannot find. You can find void by simply analyzing the competition. All you’ve got to do is take a look at their websites. Find out what people are providing to whom and how they do it, what they’re saying or not saying, what promises or claims they’re making or not making. How does all of this compare to yourself? What you’re looking for are significant differences between your services, your gifts and the rest of the crowd. Within these differences lie the reasons why someone should choose you over other alternatives.
What are those things that make you special? I remember one time I was reading about a small business that was blowing up. I love reading stories about small business owners who have created, established and built these successful invincible brands using many of the big branding principles that I will be sharing with you. One that came to mind was called Maid Brigade, a house cleaning service. Rather than going into what I would consider a very competitive oversaturated market, rather than simply showing up as “just another home cleaning service,” they said, “We’re going to offer green cleaning.” They want their customers to know that they want to provide a level of cleaning that has more to do with protecting their health. To know that they provide a “green maid service” that is a more practical and affordable way to reduce the number of harmful toxins that are found in most home environments. They were able to distance themselves from the competition around the idea of green cleaning that is best for the health of their customers as well as their maids.
I remember reading about another guy who was left homeless after Hurricane Katrina. This guy was down in the Louisiana area or may have been New Orleans. He decided that he was going to clean parking lots of shopping malls in big retail stores. He said, “What I’m going to say about my services is that I’m going to clean parking lots so good that other people will notice.” One day, a Walmart store manager did. The next thing he knew, he was cleaning the parking lots for Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s. His goal was to do about $25,000 to $35,000 a month. He reached that goal in four months and then started doing $50,000 a month. He said, “I’m further going to set myself apart by cleaning away all trash, including chewing gum,” which is the biggest problem in parking lots to get rid of.
Big Brand Yourself: Look for significant differences between your services and the rest of the crowd. Within these differences lie the reasons why someone should choose you over other alternatives.
You want to look for meaningful ways as a service, as a personal brand around yourself so that you’re not looked upon as another face in the crowd. That’s why you have Dr. Phil versus other psychologists. That’s why you have Tony Robbins versus other personal growth gurus. Keep this in mind, when there is little to no perceived difference between you and whoever or whatever, then you are going to be forced to compete on a low price. The moment you have to compete on low price, you must rely upon lots of volumes. I get the advantage that products have. I understand that if Dove soap says for example, “It won’t dry your skin because it’s one quarter cleansing cream,” or if Purina pet food says, “We provide healthy life nutrition for your one of a kind dog.” Or if Aqua Mist from Air Wick says that, “With one spray, you can release the freshness of nature in your home,” or if Lamisil Cream says, “We’re going to wipe out athletes foot forever and then you will stay athlete’s foot free up to three months,” I get it.
I’m a guy who worked at P&G. I remember when Bounce Fabric Softener got introduced around the whole idea of sticking on a dryer, freshen your laundry load after load and have an automatic freshness and static control for a few months. I get it, but what it all seems to come down to is being able to give your customers or clients or patients, whatever word is appropriate here. If you’re offering services, it might be clients. If you’re offering products, it might be customers. If you have a nonprofit, it might be donors as well as end-users. It does not matter. What it seems to come down to is that you must give people reasons to choose you, to buy your brand. All the marketing and selling that later occurs is around creating awareness of your brand, offering incentives so people will go out and buy it.
I leave you with this question to ask yourself. What you can say or do better than any other company offering services or individuals who you may be competing against? What can you say or do better that’s going to give you your own point of difference? What could you offer that no one else is offering? What can you say that no one else is saying? What proposition can you make that your competitors do not, cannot or will not say or offer that will ultimately sell your brand and pool customers? By answering these questions, it will require you to identify some things that truly are unique. You’re looking for that idea that I talked about in episode three and four. You’re looking for that idea that no one else has thought about what people care about because it’s significant. It’s relevant and it’s meaningful. You’re looking for that one idea that not only is going to set you apart, but it will allow you to stand out in the hearts and the minds of your customers in such a way that you will indeed have a top-shelf elite brand. Until next time, take care.
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