As anyone who has worked with me will tell you, I’m an avid fan of branding. I look at a client’s brand and ask myself, does it tell me something exciting, original and impactful about their business? Does it set the foundation for everything the business stands for? Does it place them instantly a head and shoulders above the competition?
Often times the answer is no and I recommend that they engage a brand specialist to help them. One of these specialists, Steve Bailey features in my latest book The Liber8 Disciplines. Here’s an excerpt from the book about a conversation Steve and I had about branding and bravery:
“Over lunch recently, Steve asked me if I thought the readers of this book would have the courage to create a powerful brand. I stopped and peered at him over the bowl of hot soup I was enjoying. “Why do they need to be brave?” I asked. To which he replied, “Because if we succeed with creating the right brand for someone, they will get noticed… a great brand doesn’t let you hide away and be safe”.
Steve gave me an example of a small business client he had worked with recently. They came to him wanting a new brand, something that would build on their existing business but take it to a whole new level of excitement and attraction. He and his team came up with a new name and brand approach that was so perfect for them, when he told me I laughed out loud. “That’s great!” I cried. From the name alone I knew exactly what this business did and I could see their growth plan ahead of them in an instant. I could see a chain of stores nationally or globally; or a franchise model. The name was so catchy I already knew what the brand would look for and what they stood for. “But they weren’t willing to change their name,” Steve told me, “which I understand – it can be too big a step for some, especially when they’ve been around for a while. So we did a new brand strategy working with their existing name. We came up with a positioning platform and graphic device that shifted them into the next league almost as well”. Steve described this new idea to me and once again I laughed out loud. “But that’s great too!” I cried. “That really works. I can already see all the marketing ideas that go with that idea”. Steve shook his head, “They were too scared to do this too” he said. “They’ve gone back to their original logo”. I knew the company he was talking about and I knew that they really needed to change their image in order to become more relevant in the marketplace. I felt sad for them. They had missed an opportunity to evolve and they didn’t even know it. Now I understood what Steve meant about being brave. Being willing to have a powerful brand might mean you have to let go of what you already have to a certain degree. Or you might even have to change it completely.
I realised from listening to Steve that it is almost as important to understand what a brand isn’t as it is to know what a brand is. Why would someone go to a brand strategy agency if they were not willing to change their brand? I wondered if perhaps they just hadn’t really understood what there were really asking for”.
Do you know what it really means to have a great brand? Do you have any idea how powerful it can really be for you? Would you like to know more about branding? I’ve dedicated an entire section of The Liber8 Disciplines to this topic – it’s that important. If you’d like a sneak preview of this chapter, before the book is published – just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
From the desk of Liber8me. Business mentors and publisher of Liber8 your Business: The revolutionary business planning technique that will set every small business owner free.