Pop quiz! What is the most common, yet most easily corrected, mistake small businesses make?
B. Marketing myopia
C. Lack of branding
D. Failure to diversify
While all are real and unfortunately all too common, for my money and in my experience, the answer is C., Bad branding.
To understand why, try this little experiment: Think about a major street that you drive down every day, and think about the row upon row of businesses you see on that street. OK, now, quick, which ones do you actually specifically remember?
If you are like most of us, the answer is zero, or maybe one or two, and that is sad, sad, sad. While every one of these small businesses represents someone’s dream, very few of them are actually businesses worth remembering.
You can try the same test online. The reason bounce rates are so high for so many small business websites is that they are more generic than terrific.
Simply put, in today’s 24/7, global, interconnected, turbo-charged, e-conomy, that just won’t cut it. These days, if you want your business to rock, if you want to take your game to a higher level, you cannot just be good. So, do you have to be great? No.
You have to be brandtastic!
Being brandtastic means that your business is so unique, so actualized, that it can’t help but be memorable. Example: Here where I live there is a dentist who bills himself “the sedation dentist.” That branding is everywhere – from bus benches to Citysearch, from Craigslist to overnight radio. While other dentists also offer sedation dentistry, here, if dentistry makes you nervous, he is the guy you will think of first.
He is Dr. Brandtastic.
Look, there are 27 million small businesses in this country alone, and that is not counting the countless number of websites and competitors you will encounter overseas and online. So why will a potential new customer choose you over the competition?
One reason, a main reason, is that your have a clearly identified unique value proposition (UVP) and that UVP is relayed in all that you do – from your site to your signs, from your store to your social media.
- There are lots of men’s clothing makers, but think about Tommy Bahama. That is a brandtastic brand because it offers something unique and different, and therefore memorable. Hagar it is not.
- What about Apple? Again, there are plenty of other computer makers out there, but only Apple is Apple. Why is that? Because Apple figured out what it offered that is special and better and lets you know it in everything they do – from their hip, funny ads to their products, stores, and geniuses.
So that is what we small businesses have to do as well if we want to stand out from the crowd and take it up a notch. Even if you have been in business for years, having a brandtastic business is the secret ingredient that can take you to the next level.
So the question is: What is your X Factor? What do you do better than anyone else, why are you distinctive, and how can you package that in a way that will be desirable to the market? For me, once I wrote The Small Business Bible I legitimately became “one of the country’s leading small business experts.”
What about you?
Once you can say what your UVP is, then you need to create a strategy that rolls it out across the universe, digital and otherwise. Do that and you will be well on the way to being the business that people remember, to being brandtastic.
((C) From American Express OPEN Forum. Visit me at MrAllBiz.com, or follow me on Twitter @SteveStrauss.)