Many small-time entrepreneurs out there often think that having a brand is only for the big dogs in the business. In this episode, host Gerry Foster tells you that is not the case. Business owners, big or small or those in-between, should think about having a brand. Otherwise, you will find yourself going bland. As Gerry takes us into the world of branding, he talks about how entrepreneurs need to think of enterprise and why they need to be willing to take a level of risk. Think big and become big. Start with your branding, and all else will follow.
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Go Brand, Or Be Bland!
It’s funny because there’s a whole lot of discussions about branding, especially when it comes to the small business owner. As I remarked upon in episode one, when I talk about small business owner, I’m including entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, mom and pops, MLMs, independent contractors, professionals and on and on. A lot of times when people think about branding, particularly in America, if they’re not thinking about the big giant companies of the world, the titans of branding like P&G and Quaker Oats and Apple and the rest of them, we often think of very successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs quite often think about putting our brands as opposed to products and services. The word, entrepreneur, just as a frame of reference, gets thrown around a lot. Don’t think that if you don’t consider yourself an entrepreneur that you cannot put out a brand. Nor should you think that if you do not have the resources of a Fortune 1000 giant company that you shouldn’t think about having a brand. Not at all because then the context of branding, particularly if you do consider yourself an entrepreneur, from a linguistic point of view, the word, entrepreneur, is connected to the word enterprise.
I’m a movie buff. Let me just come out of the closet on that. It’s not like I go to movies all the time, but I love certain types of movies, certain genres, like I’m sure you do. I love the Marvel Comics movies. I love a good thriller, a good mystery. I love a good action flick. I’m even into some of the slasher movies like Halloween. One of my favorite brands, particularly in the sci-fi arena has been Star Trek. If you remember the Starship Enterprise, that was their “savior of all mankind.” It was all about the Enterprise. It fascinates me that the word, entrepreneur, is connected to the word, enterprise. Enterprise means an undertaking of some scope. However, the one who does the undertaking in the business world is the entrepreneur, as well as other types of small business owners. The very word, enterprise, connotes boldness. It connotes a certain level of audacity, adventure and a willingness to thrust yourself into the unknown. If you are one who is willing to consider yourself an entrepreneur, let alone be a small business owner, it means that you are willing to take a level of risk because you are on a mission.
I’m going to talk about Captain Kirk. Captain Kirk, who as you know was the guy in charge of the Enterprise. I always think to myself that it was no accident that Enterprise was the name of the starship on the TV show and even in the movies, because they boldly would go where no man has gone before. They would go out into distant far away galaxies. That’s really what branding is about, particularly big branding. It’s that willingness to go perhaps where no one else has gone in your industry, in your field of expertise, in your specialty, in your space, whatever word that you wish to choose. I often think that if one is to say, “I’m going to big brand my business.” Maybe some of you who are reading, you are making a decision that you’re going to 10x your business. You’re going to 5x your business or you’re going to have a giant leap occur from where you are to where you want to be. You’re determined to have that leap of curb within the next six months to a year. What that requires is the willingness to go perhaps where you’ve never gone before. Which means number one, you must be highly creative, number two, you must be adventurous and number three, you must be somewhat restless. What do I mean? How do I tie that in with you being like Captain Kirk? Here’s what I mean.
To be highly creative means that you have decided right now that you are going to big brand what you have by providing something new rather than following the traditional path. I’ll let that marinate for a second. You are now going to provide something new in your field, in your space, then follow the traditional path. It’s interesting because these big branders that we’re seeing now in the marketplace, I’m talking about men and women in their twenties even who have become millionaires or multimillionaires within twelve months to two years, if not shorter. One of the very first thing that they decided to do was to connect with the word, enterprise, and do something groundbreaking, inventive, unpredictable that perhaps their consumer has never seen before.
Having A Business Brand: Big branding must become the lens you must wear to look at your business not from your perspective, but from the perspective of the customer that you wish to attract.
Secondly, what it means for some of you is this thing about being adventurous, which means that you’re willing to not only venture out into the unknown. It also means that the thrill of the business adventure itself is a high priority for you. That you have now made it a personal commitment to be adventurous and have some fun with it, rather than be scared and fearful of it. To be restless, number three, in this whole thing around successful big branding says that right now you may be bored with what you’re doing. If there is any level of boredom that is setting into your life where you feel that your work, that the business you’re in is becoming somewhat mundane and predictable, it’s time for you to take on some new tasks and some new challenges.
Therefore, to be a big brander, to go brand and not be bland, you must first see that you want to put something out into the market. It makes a difference and makes a contribution driven by your vision of a higher, brighter future that you see for yourself as opposed to perhaps the disappointments of your past. Number two, you are willing to have an independent spirit. Small business owners that end up having these game changing brands: go-to brands, leadership brands, huge moneymaking, lucrative brands in a short period of time. There isn’t a tremendous sense of independence, not only from the perspective that they find the idea of working for someone else, someone else somewhat disgusting. They also are willing to use proven systems and procedures and sequences to achieve their goals. In other words, you don’t go add it in some haphazard whimsical way, which also requires you, number three, to be tenacious, which means that you’ve got to be willing to hang in there. Be bold, be daring, face adversity until adversity gets tired and goes home.
There’s a level of inspiration around all of this because the brand itself, if you’re all about wanting to not only make a difference but make a contribution. It means that you are willing to learn and do what it takes to get people excited about your product, your service, your nonprofit, yourself or your company or your town that people get so excited about it. They just have to happen. When I think about enterprise, when I think about Star Trek and Captain Kirk and how that relates to us, I know I sound absolutely crazy. Where it takes me is to narrow down what I would call my strategic brand excellence positions, which means that there are certain distinctive brand qualities that I’m going to make sure have high-value connected with them that are going to be meaningful to the audience or to the market that you’re serving. You could say that two big brands around strategic excellence, points of difference is all about determining, “What areas must you excel in to not only create unrivaled unique value for your customer, but you are to excel in an aspect of what your brand is about that will give you a competitive advantage so that you will always win this battle called how do I do better than my competition?”
I know for some of us that may seem to be like, “Does it always have to be about achieving a competitive edge and beating the competition?” I’ll tell you this much. In this whole thing about creating value and driving home sales and all of that, it does come down to wanting to make sure that you can be as successful as possible with what it is that you do. I think you should ask yourself a few questions. I think that some of you haven’t asked yourselves this yet in this funding perspective that you now want to have the rock star brand and really shake up and perhaps disrupt your industry. You need to start asking yourself a few questions. Number one is what does your product or service do best? Number two, who needs that the most? Number three, what is it that is going to make you different or far awfully unique? The better that you are known for offering something of unrivaled value and superiority, the easier it will be for you to attract new business. The ones that don’t attract new business are the brands that are bland, if they even can consider themselves to have a brand. What is your brand going to be?
We’re going to be diving deeper just into that topic because it starts with you asking yourself, “What is my brand?” I think that big branding must become a set of lenses that you must wear to look at your business. Not from your perspective, but from the perspective of the customer that you wish to attract by zero in on what matters most to them, what they care about and what are they looking for that they presently cannot find so that you can say, “I have it and I can help you get what you’re looking for, but you can only get it through me.” That’s the game. What I’m noticing is that for so many small business owners, I check out their websites, I look in at what they’re saying and they pretty much sound like everybody else. They’re not distinguishing themselves.
We’re just now getting to know each other, but I’ll be sharing lots of examples of this in action where you’re going to see how people went from simple startups to sustainable, lucrative businesses in a relatively short period of time. By just embracing the fact that they have to make sure that they put something out that was looked upon as being very unique. Something that would make their market zing and have impact, and more importantly that they would put something out that customers or consumers would gladly pay for and pay the prices that they wanted them to pay.
Go big. Go home. Have you ever heard that expression? We’ll be getting into that as well. For right now, I just want you to embrace what it means to brand and brand in such a way that you are looked upon as being showed us above the rest of the crowd. The internet has changed everything. It’s no longer about simply being good at what you do and having great skills, a wonderful product and on and on. It’s about you nailing down how are people’s lives or how our businesses or organizations improve as a result of your brand? What people want to know nowadays is, “Not only can you give me something that meets my current needs and desires, can you give me something that also will meet my unmet needs or desires?” One of the reasons we love brands so much is because we know what we can count on to be delivered to us. We know what we will get for our money in terms of improvements or benefits to our life, our job, our business, our families, whatever. As we continue, we’re going to give into things like what are people really looking for from someone like you? It’s not your product or service per se. It’s something else. What is it that is going to be required for someone to take notice of your brand, become interested, desire it and decide to buy it? That’s it for episode two. Stick around because we’re going to be rocketed on this show. Take care.
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