Every business has a story to tell us. In fact, every business is a story in itself.
While the motive behind a story writer is to make as many readers as possible read his story, the motive behind every businessperson is to make as many customers use his products or services as possible. To do that successfully, every businessperson must have a brand strategy — the plot of the story.
As a story writer plans his idea and creates a plot that attracts his target readers so does a businessman plans and shapes his ideas to suit the needs of his customers.
Every story has a protagonist and an antagonist; likewise, every business, a protagonist, has an antagonist, the competition. Very few businesses enjoy the privilege of being the first of its kind, and even then there are these hindrances such as customers’ suspicions and sentiments, trade regulations and availability of raw material.
The best example is the brown eggs sold in super markets. People prefer white eggs though they have been told that brown eggs and white eggs contain the same nutritional value and brown eggs are brown because of the color of the hens that lay them and that brown eggs cost more because of the fact that brown chicken are more expensive to maintain. Experts say it’s a misconception, rather a stubborn food myth, that dies hard. We expect milk to be white, and never feel comfortable if the milk in the carton is yellow or blue. As a dairy business owner you can’t argue with your customers to buy brown eggs or yellow milk; you got to sell them what they feel comfortable with. In case you are selling a milk product that has some additive for taste or to keep the milk from going bad soon, you may have to have a ‘publicity strategy’ that assures them of the benefits they have in buying your ‘milk drink’, not just the milk!
Besides, there are trade laws and financial regulations a businessperson has to tackle while keeping their business more customer-friendly.
Customers should see a business in bright light with its plus points shining brighter than those of the antagonist’s. In other words, every businessman needs to Brand his business, shape it in such way, that the customers get interested in the business, like a romantic story reader gets more and more involved as the story reveals more and more feelings and sentiments.
Branding is not what you think your business is; it’s what you want your customers/clients think what your business is!
And a businessperson needs a strong brand strategy that is rich, different, useful, classy, purposeful and what not; it’s everything that encompasses all the tricks of the trade. You ignore one simple part of the strategy, like not having a regiment of strong guards at the rear gate which can be breached easily by your protagonist or which shows your weakness, it shows your ignorance to the whole business world.
Once the quality of the product or service, which is very vital to any business, is established, the immediate step is to show it to the customer world… show it with a bang!
A captivating logo design, a catchy tag-line, a glossy flyer, a brash billboard, a sensible TV and online ad, the display location of the business and pricing are to be taken into consideration while forming a brand strategy.
A logo plays a lot on the visual sense. Nike is the best example of how a small tick mark brings in the whole Nike products to the minds of the thousands of viewers around the world. I heard a friend of mine saying: The yellow M of MacDonald’s really makes me droll whenever I see it.
The tag-line deliberately tells the reader to feel the meaning. The Thumps up ‘Taste the Thunder’ makes a young man feel thunderous even while he is not actually drinking it, but makes him long to drink one soon.
A patient at a dentist’s office picks up a flyer that looks colourful and glossy shining brightly under the dim light from a number of flyers strewn on the table while waiting his/her turn goes through the text and continues reading only when the content is clear and relevant, with more facts and fewer trimmings.
A pedestrian looks at all the huge billboards along the street but looks twice at the one that has its statement made clear and direct, with simple tag-lines giving complicated information.
Most TV audience switch to another channel when the commercials are on. However, a sensible, cool, romantic ad is seldom overlooked. One such is the Red Bull’s ads that show the viewers not the product but an activity that most of us are interested in. Viewers are not bothered by the repeated reminders of the Red Bull energy drink’s efficiency, but are given an adventurer take a plunge from a steep cliff some thousand meters high. You love to watch anxiously how that jumper glides slowly down to the ground while at the same time reading the Red Bull logo and name on the helicopter that is supposed to catch the act and on the parachute the jumper opens when he/she reaches close enough to the ground. And later, you involuntarily tell your friends about that fascinating ad of …RED BULL!
A business outlet or an office must be located in fit surroundings. You cannot have your $1000 a piece custom-made tote displayed in a market place; it should be in a boutique at a ‘high-end’ mall where the rich go regularly, nor can you display $10 a piece Tees in the same boutique; the best place for those Tees is somewhere else, probably in a market place. (No pun intended; it’s a fact.)
Start from Scratch!
I don’t actually believe in ‘aim high’ or ‘aim at the sun so that you can shoot a star’ or something like that. You can’t shoot down a bird a mile away with your hand gun; you need a high-powered assault rifle or even a missile. And shooting a bird with a missile is not profitable in any business. Any businessperson must have aspirations and ‘big aims’ but aiming really higher than one’s reach is a waste of time and effort, and, in business, waste of money. Start with ‘aiming’ for the targets that are close to you and then reach for the targets farther away as you improve your range, keeping your budget, your target market and the region you operate into consideration.
Curiosity Doesn’t Kill the Cat in a business:
In your day to day affairs, if you’re too enthusiastic about certain issues and put your finger in every pie, you lose your hand. In business, however, you lose your business if you do not keep yourself up to date with the things that go around you, especially the things relating to your business. Most start-ups benefit a lot from having a mentor, even a professional one whom you may think very expensive, who guides you on the right path.
Learning from others is not like cheating on an exam; in fact, if you don’t peek on the others’ activities, it’s like cheating yourself. ‘Know-how’ is the secret in any business.
And in this Internet era when a mountain of information is gathered with a flick of a finger, rather with a press of a button on a computer, you don’t have to learn anything the hard way. There are even thousands of wonderfully made videos which explain the complications in simple language about everything under the sun, around the sun and above the sun!