As a small business owner, you're passionate about your business. You think about your business all the time. You constantly get ideas on how to improve it, changes to make, and more and more details about your business. You wake up in the middle of the night, inspired. You have huge brainstorms during conversations with your clients.
Soon you have a giant pile of important details that you want - no, need! - to tell your clients and prospects about your business. So you march straight to your marketing materials and website and fill them up with all of this great information.
You have so much important information that soon all of your marketing materials are crammed full of text and information. Your margins are disappearing and your designer is using smaller and smaller type sizes. Materials that used to be gorgeous and well laid-out are now looking cramped and unappealing. And your web pages just keep getting longer and longerÉ scroll, scroll, scroll!
Most small business owners have this problem. They are so excited about their business and everything they can do for their clients. They make the mistake of putting it all into their marketing materials.
You want to tell the world about everything you can possibly do to help your clients!
The problem is that it usually comes out looking like a big mess. And when your clients read your materials, they get confused. You don't want confused clients! You want them to feel comfortable, confident and to have their questions answered.
What questions do we need to answer? When a client looks at your marketing pieces they're trying to figure out a few basic things about your company. Here's what runs through their mind:
- Is your company a good fit for their style and personality?
- Do they want and need what you do?
- Should they work with you instead of someone else?
- Are you really good enough for them to give you their hard-earned money?
- Does what you say make them feel comfortable to actually hand over a pile of money?
- Does what you're selling actually work for their specific business and situation? If you're presenting a big list of all the great things about your company, there's a good chance they'll have a hard time pulling the answers out of your materials.
Instead, help your clients by making it easy for them to find the answers to their questions. The best way to do this is to create a Brand Definition.
A Brand Definition gives your clients the information needed to answer their questions. A Brand Definition is made up of four elements. These four elements map directly to the needs and concerns in your client's mind:
1. Who You Are: Is your company a good fit for their style and personality?
2. What You Do: Do they want and need what you do?
3. What Makes You Different: Should they work with you instead of someone else? Are you really good enough for them to give you their big pile of hard-earned money?
4. Who You Can Best Help: Does what you say make them feel comfortable to actually hand over a pile of money? Does what you're selling actually work for their specific business and situation? The key to answering these questions well is making sure that your Brand Definition in each area is succinct, clear and focused. The narrower the Definition of each element, the clearer you'll be able to communicate. And when you communicate clearly, instead of rambling on, the easier it is for your client to figure out what you are talking about. They can then decide quickly and painlessly whether or not you're a good fit.
Steps to figuring out a clear Brand Definition:
1. Do a "brain dump" of all of your thoughts about your business for all four elements. You can do this organically by thinking about your business and scribbling down all the answers.
2. Think through it. Carefully refine and condense your thoughts for each element. You want to pull out the essence of the four elements of your Brand Definition. It can be very hard to do this yourself when you're right in the middle of your brand. It can be hard to see what is most important and effective. Friends, colleagues and hired help can assist you with this.
3. Summarize your answers for each area down to a single sentence. Be very clear and concise about this step.
4. Test this Brand Definition on some members of your target audience to make sure that they both understand and are interested in it. If not, revisit steps 2 and 3 to make your definition more effective.
5. Now celebrate - you've done it!
You now have a brand definition you can use to create your Brand Identity, Brand Messaging and base your Brand Service on. Remember to look at this document often. Live by it so you can create a consistent business going forward.