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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

Brand Building Basics

What is the absolute core of your business or organization?

The prevailing cause of “brand rot” in a lot of businesses and organizations is a lack of focus. Focus on the true core of the DNA of that business. Jim Collins calls this “The Hedgehog Concept” in his book, “Good to Great”. This is made up of three questions Jim used in the book, my interpretations of those questions are in parentheses:

  1. What are you deeply passionate about? (what are the reasons you do this that go beyond money?)

  2. What can you be the best in the world at? (and what you cannot)

  3. What drives your economic engine? (how does your company actually make money?)

For small business owners, I also like to ask them:

  1. What feelings do you experience (or would like to experience) connected with your business? and..

  2. How do you feel now at the end of every day?

These are just some of the questions connected with the razor focus or lack of razor focus that your business might be getting from you.

Several business problems lie at the heart of a lack of focus:

  1. Spread too thin

  2. No prospective customer can actually describe what you provide or who you are

  3. Too long throwing a lot of things at the wall to see what sticks

  4. Too much generalist and not enough specialist

In most businesses and organizations, the lack of focus cure can be painful to face, painful to execute, but for the long haul, profitable for sure.

The benefits of long-term brand building are very similar for both small and large organizations, however some of the most common problems related to brand building are very different.

Most likely brand problems in small organizations:

  1. No background or skill level in developing a plan for the brand

  2. Lack of time

  3. No or little understanding of who is buying their products and services and for what reasons

  4. Lack of funds

  5. Little or no marketplace awareness of the brand

Most likely brand problems in large organizations:

  1. Market/Advertising position is no longer relevant, distinctive or compelling

  2. Marketing (and other dept) functions are not integrated

  3. The brand structure (if present) has become too complicated and unclear

  4. Current leadership doesn’t have a clear and accurate view of what the brand position should be

  5. The brand identity standards and systems have fallen in use or are not measured and inspected anymore

  6. Organizational structure and bureaucracy work against an invigorated new brand position

Although these are the most common brand building problems, they are certainly not insurmountable. Building brand is an ingredient to staying in the balanced and predictable growth mode for organizations and business and if done correctly, will help generate tremendous momentum raising the total value of your business. That’s the grand prize, anyway, isn’t it?

Take time today to write down your full definition of success. Avoid using words like “lots of money” or “the next level” and other vague terms. If you don’t know specifically what you want, how will you know when you get there? You must know for certain when you reach your definition of success. So you must know what it looks like for you, not what others expect from you, or what you think others expect, but what do you expect for yourself?

Then ask yourself “why”? Why do I want this?

Journal it out.

Have a brain dump.

Put it all down.

Now, sift through it all looking for the basic building blocks that you may have been missing that can infuse your brand with even more passion.

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