Your brand is your business. It’s the anchor that holds your position in the market and the clarion that calls to your customers.
People just love brands. Whether it’s their Swiss watch, Italian clothes, German car, French perfume, American golf clubs, designer sports clothing (surfing gear for people that don’t surf maybe?….) people seek brands.
But your brand also serves another important purpose. Your brand defines your customer’s position in their demographic. Why? Because, as you were smart, you defined it for them when you created your brand’s positioning statement.
Yep, by defining your positioning you achieve two things: you declare exactly which kind of client you want and when they buy from your brand, you give them confidence. They’ve done the right thing; they feel comfortable; they’ve bought your brand.
Think about it. Why do people gather in bars wearing Joules eventing gear? Are they off to the races? Nope. Why does the guy on the first tee think he can out-drive his opposition with his new Calloway driver? Is his swing any better? No way José. Why has the lady in the little black dress donned the Chanel No 5 ‘cloak of hope’? Is she any more attractive (don’t answer that…)? The reason is they feel comfortable. They’ve bought into your brand and they’re telling the world with confidence ‘I’ve bought a better version of myself!’
Sir John Hegarty, co-founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH, Est. London 1982) repeats his message ‘Don’t start a business, build a brand’. Their famous mantra is ‘When the world zigs, zag’ which, for those of us who didn’t see their 1982 Black Sheep Levi advertisement roughly translates as, ‘don’t follow the herd (in this case ‘flock’) create a difference’.
And creating a difference is what branding is all about. It’s the difference that means, instead of competing on price, you define a unique positioning that means you can rise above the competition and smash your targets unchallenged. It’s the difference that means, rather than be compared to your competitors, your clients compare the competition to you. It also means you create loyalty from your clients which is worth its weight in gold.
So how do we join the dots? Branding and positioning go hand in hand. In fact, if you want to be perceived as unique or making a difference in your chosen marketplace, they’re pretty much joined at the hip. There is, however, one important point you need to remember. Don’t confuse your market positioning with your market position. Here’s why.
In 1997 American marketing guru Harry Beckwith famously defined positioning for us:
‘ A statement of position is a cold-hearted, no-nonsense statement of how you are perceived in the minds of your prospects and clients. It IS your position‘.
‘A positioning statement, by contrast, states how you wish to be perceived by your prospects and clients. It’s the core message you want to deliver in every medium, including elevators and airport waiting areas, social media etc. to influence the perceptions of your service’
In other words, your positioning statement lets your clients know who you are, what business your in, what type of clients you want, what unique benefits your clients will get and what makes you more desirable than the competition. Top this off with the instantly visual recognition of your brand logo and wham! you’ve just molded the expectation of your clients.
But, hang on a minute, it’s not as easy as that. It takes time, effort and cash to create a commercially successful brand. But when it works, it works! Brands are what people want and a brand’s role in positioning your business is key to your success. To illustrate, here’s a brilliant example of a brand that has successfully positioned itself at the top of peoples’ must have list – Superdry.
Superdry products combine vintage Americana styling with Japanese inspired graphics. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. All the way from Cheltenham, England? Really? Yep….
So maybe Sir John Hegarty was right all along? ‘Don’t start a business, build a brand‘
Those that claim ‘possession is nine-tenths of the law’ have usually stolen something