There’s no point in beginning relationships unless we do so authentically. When we show who we really are, we attract people who have something in common with us. When we communicate what we truly stand for and what we’re naturally about, we connect. And real connections lead to real relationships.
We all know this, deep inside. So why do business owners brand their companies with the intention of looking like something they’re not, especially where first impressions are concerned?
Why do we read articles with headlines like, “How to Make Your Company Look Bigger than it Really Is,” or “How to Look Like a Fortune 500 Company?”
We do these things for the same reasons we do them in our personal lives. For the same reasons we laugh too loudly when we meet new peoople, or play fake in job interviews, or go to parties dressed like people we’re not.
As business owners and leaders, we put on because we’re afraid people won’t like our companies for what they truly are. And we’re afraid peole won’t buy from us if they find out what’s really behind our doors.
But here’s a newsflash about branding.
Relationships with your customers play by the same rules as relationships in your personal life.
There’s no point in developing a brand that doesn’t ring true. Because eventually, potential customers will actually meet your company. And if the real thing doesn’t match up with the foot your brand put forward, they’ll feel cheated and lied to. What could have been a beautiful relationship will never begin. Or worse yet, they’ll sign up for your product or service and then angrily request a refund, dragging your name through the mud in the process.
Have you set up your brand for a series of horrible one-night stands?
The single most important step in the branding process is identifying your company’s point of differentiation. This is what distinguishes you from every other company in the market. It’s your secret sauce, your je nais se quoi, your superpower, your juju.
And here’s something business owners hate to hear, but need to know:
If you don’t know what this is, then you likely have a flaw in your business model. If you can’t answer the question, “Why would someone buy from this company, out of all the companies in the world?” then you’ve got a problem.
Because that’s the very question your potential customers are asking. And the answer is what will allow you to stay in business, and grow your fan base, year after year.