If you’re in business, you’ve likely heard the term “branding.” But, what does it mean for business growth? How do companies like Starbucks, whose coffee is highly overpriced for its quality, get away with increasing prices without experiencing the slightest drop in loyalty? They’ve mastered the art of creating a brand that resonates.
Oh, What a Feeling!
Fifteen years ago, my husband and I purchased our first Lexus. This was a brand that promised luxury and reliability. To join this exclusive club was to be…well, exclusive. At the time, Lexus was rare in the U.S. So rare, in fact, there wasn’t any room for price negotiations. Do you know what else they didn’t have? The color we wanted. Still, we enthusiastically wrote the check and purchased the car. In a color other than our first choice, at a price we weren’t able to negotiate. Why? We weren’t simply buying a vehicle; we were part of what the brand stood for.
Thinking back on this story makes me wonder how these brands sway people to buy something they don’t need at a price beyond their budget. It was a real head scratcher.
After some thought and research, here’s what I’ve discovered.
Bringing Out the “Starbucks” in Your Business
Building a strong, lasting brand, like Starbucks, goes beyond advertising and marketing. It takes guts, creativity, and the will to keep pushing forward. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to create a brand that facilitates business growth.
- Tell your story—and share it. Whether it’s the tale of how you struggled for years selling baby dolls out of the trunk of your car or the innovative approach you take when manufacturing baby dolls, everyone has a story. Tell yours to consumers. They’re more likely to want to be a part of it. And if things start falling apart, go back to the basics: your story, your mission, and your goals.
- Diversify your efforts. Digital marketing is all the rage these days, and for good reason. But in the midst of posting, tweeting, and emailing, don’t neglect the older methods…like talking with real live people.
- Embrace the video trend.Videos have a huge impact on consumers. The more inundated our society becomes with social media, the shorter our attention spans. Engaging video captures consumers’ attention and creates a reputation, both of which promote business growth.
- Make an emotional connection.Provide something consumers want, need, or desire—before they even know they want, need, or desire it. Steve Jobs was a master at this. Create something that makes people’s lives easier, more fun, or more successful.
- Focus on the end result. When creating marketing materials for your new product, tell (better yet, show) consumers what will happen to them emotionally when they buy into your brand. How will they feel? What will they experience?
- Create the experience first and product second. If people just wanted to buy coffee for the sake of drinking coffee, they’d go anywhere but Starbucks. And save a ton of money. People buy experiences—or perceived experiences. Name-brand shoes equal improved performance, right? (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
- Find your differentiator. Do you sell toys? Well, so do about a million other people. You need to find the thing that sets your business apart, and focus on building your brand around it.
- With the right mindset and a bit of perseverance, you can channel the Starbucks energy into your brand, and experience success like you never thought possible.
By the way—the 2000 Lexus with the non-negotiable price and wrong color we purchased? It’s been 15 years…and we still own the car. It’s good to be part of the “exclusive club.”