Positioning + Perception = Profit (how branding directly effects profit)
The power of perception.
The more you take advantage of perception through positioning and branding, the more success your business will have. It is that simple.
Perception is more valuable than the product you sell or the service that you offer.
This is a hard pill to swallow...we want to think that when we have an amazing product or service we believe that is all we need. This is FAR from true. As much as we want to start business doing something we love and offering something we believe in, we can't do anything without helping our consumer believe it is great too.
There are many products that become the worlds "best kept secret." Great branding, marketing, and communication with an average product win out over an amazing product with bad branding, marketing and communication EVERY TIME. Don't be the next "best kept secret." Having a great product or service is not enough to find success in your business. Learn how to manage perception through branding so you don't miss out.
How perception can help your business?
Perception is created through branding and positioning. The way your business is presented in every aspects correlates to value in your consumer's mind. For example, here are 2 interior design businesses that branded themselves differently.
If you position yourself as an interior designer who promises to be the least expensive option and guarantees to be the quickest, you have created your brand. You are perceived as accessible, cheap, quick, and probably not the best quality. Why? Well, if you are so available, you aren't in high demand. If you are cheap, you probably aren't spending enough time on this client's project and it must not be very custom. These are all aspects that point to low quality. There are always people out there looking for this option, but you will have a hard time raising prices and portraying value once you brand yourself this way. Most of the time, this is the most natural way businesses think they will get customers.
On the other hand, if you position yourself as a high end, luxury, custom and very creative interior designer, your brand looks very different. You have the highest quality logo, website, marketing materials, photography of work and more. You look expensive. If branding is done well and your product stands up to that quality you will have great success. You are in an entirely different market than the other designer. You can let them have 50 cheap jobs that they will run ragged to complete while you have 10 dream projects that you can spend your time and creativity on to create something amazing.
This sounds like a great option, but the reason most businesses don't do this is because it is not the most easy or natural way. You must focus on branding and positioning so that you can manage perception enough that you can charge more and get better clients. So how do you manage perception and what does that even mean?
Perception is King Today
As a consumer we are being played every day by every company we interact with. We interact with hundreds of companies every single day. We see them all over our social feeds, in the search results on Google, we get cold calls, see ads on websites, see signs, billboards, receive mailers, see product labeling...the list can go on and on.
As a consumer we have never had this much interaction with brands. We have become so accustomed to this that we don't even realize what these companies are doing or how they are managing perception through every word, image, style, and communication that they offer. A successful business understands every aspect of this. There is no mistake in the way that they appeal to their consumer. They understand what you want. They understand who you are. They know how you feel, why you need their product and how their communication style can appeal to you. Any good business knows exactly who their customer is.
As a business, if we don't also understand our consumer down to the last detail, we are missing the boat.
If there are other companies out there who are your competition and understand your market better than you do, you are losing out.
In order to manage perception we have to understand three main things.
1. Who your consumer is.
2. How your consumer base wants to perceive you.
3. Who you are as a company and how you can establish differentiation within the market.
1. Who is your consumer?
It is important to understand your consumer demographically.
What is their age, gender, location, ethnicity, income, education level?
What is their lifestyle?
Are they married or single?
What is the problem they have that you can solve?
What do they value?
What is their story?
What are their challenges in their life?
2. How do they want to perceive us?
In accordance to the answers to the questions above it is helpful to appeal to their problems and how you can solve them.
Make sure that their values are portrayed in your branding. If authenticity is something your audience longs for, you don't need to come out and say we are "authentic" as much as you need to show that you are through the actions you take and the language you use. No matter what the value is, portraying that value through everything your business does is much more effective than spewing meaningless words to your consumer.
3. Who are you as a company and how can you establish differentiation within the market?
Who is your competition?
How are you different from them?
What about your business will make a consumer desire to hire you..and pay you more than your competitor?
How can you portray these differentiation factors?
What will communicate these qualities to your audience?
These questions are just touching the surface.
Every business owner should be an expert at understanding their consumer. This is the key to success in many different ways.
When your brand strategy and understanding of your business in relation to your consumer is clear it will impact every effort that you make. This, in turn, helps you SAVE MONEY and get the best ROI on any marketing effort that you make. Why?
Well, if you can illuminate the guess work and connect more directly with your audience, you will get a better response in everything.
If you understand the consumer's values your copy on your website will talk directly to them. It will focus on their issues and values rather than your business and your need for a sell.
If you run an ad, the same principals are true. If you can appeal more directly to them through the content you will get more clicks at a lower cost.
If you understand what style appeals to your consumer, you will portray this in your visual brand. Your logo, colors, style and imagery will instill confidence in the consumer.
If you understand who they are demographically, you can understand where they spend their time and make sure all your marketing efforts capitalize on those avenues.
There are so many more benefits to understanding your customer and your brand and how the two relate, but I will leave it at that.
Managing perception of your products or services is where value is really added to your business. Developing a brand strategy to do this is what every business needs.
While these questions are extremely helpful, having a fully flushed out brand strategy is a much more extensive and beneficial task.