Essential #1: Know the difference between the two.
While marketing and branding are often used interchangeably, they are two very different aspects of your business. Marketing includes aspects such as your website, logo, font and color scheme. It also includes what social media platforms you choose to be on and how you present yourself on each. Marketing is what you tell other people about your business in your slogan and elevator pitch. Branding is the feelings clients and customers experience as a result of interacting with you, your team, and the product and/or service you provide and includes word-of-mouth. While marketing and branding are different, they are equally important. Marketing refers to what attracts clients and customers. Branding turns them into loyal followers and is pertinent for the growth of your business.
Work it out: Let’s take a look at a few of Walmart and Target’s marketing tactics. Walmart uses a basic font, blue and yellow color scheme, and an asterisk as its logo. Their slogan states, “Save Money. Live Better.” Target also uses a basic font, red and white color scheme, and the bulls eye as its logo. Their slogan is “Expect More. Pay Less.” Now, let’s look at branding. I recently taught this session at a women’s business luncheon. During our time together, I asked the ladies who shopped where and why. One woman said she shopped at Walmart because the prices are always low and she can get everything she needs in one place. Another woman said she shopped at Target because it’s where she can get a breather after a long day or when she just needs a break.
Consider your own shopping experience. Where do you go? Why there instead of the competitor? Think about other stores such as Sephora, Beauty Brands, or Ulta and Starbucks coffee versus McDonalds coffee or QuikTrip as opposed to another gas station. How does their marketing and branding influence you and what lessons can you take away for your own business?
Essential #2: Design your ideal client.
One thing we notice from the first essential is that Walmart and Target pretty much provide the same products. No matter what the marketing and branding may be, makeup stores still all provide makeup, coffee shops still all provide coffee, and gas stations still fill up all of our tanks. It may be hard for us to fathom, but there was a point and time where these companies didn’t exist. They all came from an idea and had a starting point just like your business. And even though there are competitors, there’s still plenty of clients and customers for all of these businesses to thrive.
What does that mean for you?
Similar to these mega corporations, we all have a lot of the same gifts and skill sets. No one is reinventing the wheel. We’re just putting our own spin and creating our own, unique experiences on the products and services that already exist. (Think about all the content calendars and audio courses out there, right?!) If Walmart and Target can co-exist, you too can choose community over competition. No need for cattiness or claws. There’s enough clients and customers for us all.
So what sets us apart? Our ideal client (IC).
Consider questions like the ones below.
- How old is my IC?
- Is my IC male or female?
- What part of the world does my (IC) live? Is it a big city, small town, or on a farm?
- Is my IC married? Does my IC have children?
- What does my IC do for fun? To relax?
- Is my IC a college grad?
- What does my IC do for a living? How much does my IC earn a year?
- Is my IC a spiritual person?
- What are my IC’s values? Morals? Core beliefs?
- What problem does my IC have that I can solve?
Avoid the temptation of the universal. Answers like, “My IC is of all ages!” and “My IC can make anywhere from zero to six figures a year!” for every single question are totally unacceptable. Why? Because when you talk to everyone, you talk to no one. Picture this: If you were standing before a group of 10 people, not every single person should be able to identify as your IC. It’s important to weed out who doesn’t belong so that you can market effectively. Yes, how you design your website, what font and color scheme you choose, and so forth relies on who you are speaking to: your ideal client.
Work it out: Use the questions above to create what you believe to be the IC for Walmart and Target or other competitive brands. Then, repeat the same exercise for your own business.
Essential #3: Redefine your strengths and weaknesses
Traditionally, we are taught that our strengths are what we are good at and our weaknesses – not so hot. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Strengths aren’t only those things that you are good at, but you actually enjoy doing them. If they don’t energize or excite you – rather you’re skilled in the area or not – it’s a weakness. Weaknesses are bit more complex and there are four types:
- Non-beneficial Weakness: This includes areas that you’re skilled in, but don’t enjoy. I do not enjoy editing videos. In fact, I abhor editing videos. Even though I’m good at it and will perform the task if I absolutely have to, I rather have someone else take on this task.
- Pleasure Point Weakness: Not skilled in the area, but enjoy attempting to achieve the task. I love taking photos! And for social media, I do a pretty good job. But, if someone needs a professional photo shoot, I’m not your girl.
- Natural Weakness: Not skilled in the area and don’t care to enhance your performance. If we took the time out to consider all of our natural weaknesses, we would be here forever. My natural weaknesses include things like engineering, lawn service, coding, the list goes on.
- Character Weakness: Ethical areas that can hurt the reputation of your business. Being on time, staying organized, and delivering on your promises are examples of character weaknesses.
Another thing that we were traditionally taught is that we should make our strengths better and turn our weaknesses into strengths. This isn’t entirely true. The only weaknesses we should intentionally work on enhancing are those Character Weaknesses. Use your Non-Beneficial, Pleasure Point, and Natural Weaknesses to build a team. Doing so will help you avoid the busy body bug and keep you productive by focusing on the areas where you excel. For every weakness you have in the first two categories, you should have a team member (be it an intern, contracted worker, or employee) to execute those tasks. Don’t worry too much about Natural Weaknesses. Those will arise naturally (hence its name) and can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Redefining your strengths and weaknesses is necessary as it impacts the branding of your business. Think about one of your weaknesses in any category and how it could effect the experience your client or customer has with your product or service. Then, think about what types of things your client or customer may say to other people about your business because of that experience. Think about how that can dictate the life and growth of your business. When you rethink the same situation only this time with a team member in place who excels in that area, the outcome is drastically different and everyone wins.
Work it out: Make a list of your weaknesses in each of the four categories. What aspects of your business are impacted as a result of those weaknesses? Consider if you have the resources in place to bring on a team member and take the appropriate steps to make it happen.
Want more? Schedule a free Discovery Session with a Kharissa! Here, feel free to ask any questions about your brand to discover what the appropriate next steps should be or get more information on services available via KForte Branding + Communications.