In my line of work I meet many people who love their business.
There’s an infectious and attractive energy surrounding managing directors and CEOs who started off their empires on the kitchen table/spare room/potting shed and grew to become a business success story.
I mean, these guys really, really love their company.
Often, they have the skill to inspire teams of people in the company who also feel the same love for the business. In doing so they create brilliant, motivational places to work, amazing products and services, loyalty from staff, respect from peers, trust of customers and healthy profits.
But after a while they feel they’re missing something.
They’ll say things like: “we need to take a fresh look at our PR and marketing strategy” or “we need to grow more awareness of our products and services” or “we need to get our brand out there” and “we need to sell more.”
However, what I think they’re really trying to say is:
I want more people to love my company.
The root of the issue for many of them is a feeling that nobody else loves their business as much as they do. And they feel they should. After all why not? It’s a successful business with great people running it and working in it. What’s the problem?
The benefit of being loved outside your organisation is obvious. Everything that’s already good is instantly amplified to thousands, if not millions, more people through marketing and PR campaigns.
But how do you go about getting people to love you? How do good brands subconsciously seduce people?
There are four basic truths to grasp:
Being great isn’t good enough
Just having a great service or great product alone isn’t enough. The world is full of nice, funny, charming, bright people doing lots of amazing work. They already work in your company, my company and your competitors. To get people to love what you do needs extra effort.
Your vision is not bold enough
Having a long-term vision is essential. The vision has to be bigger than standard business metrics connected to sales, money or status. You have to answer the question: what are we doing to change the world we live in? The best brands know how they are changing the world and are consistently making a real impact on real people’s lives. Be dramatic and daring with your vision and execute it within the business.
Your voice is (probably) not distinctive enough
I’ve posted before about the irony of authenticity in marketing. There’s a distinct lack of distinctive voices in most industry sectors. I’d wager that the text on your website is written in exactly the same style and tone of voice as others in your marketplace. The images (your visual identity) you use are also used by someone else and you’re trying too hard to catch up with competitor marketing campaigns rather than cutting a rug your own way.
Finding out who you are as a business (and a brand) is fundamental to creating your own distinct positioning, visual, verbal and corporate identity.
You can’t make everyone love you
You can’t please everybody all the time. Stop going for the lowest common denominator in your brand positioning. After you’ve defined what your brand is all about your have to know who you target audience is and focus your key messages on this group of potential ‘raving super-fans’. These brand advocates who love your business are the seeds from which love will blossom in the wider world for your business.
Starting a company is easy. Growing a business is really tough and the natural order of things dictates only the minority succeed.
Building a brand is even trickier and very few manage to do so. Hopefully, by facing up to some truths about your own business you can make the first step that takes you beyond others.