Brands are complex, ever-changing mental images, yet we all use them to make decisions about what we buy and where we buy it. When entrepreneurs understand the basic dynamics that underlie the brand-building process they can more easily create strong brands that create long-term success.Read More
When there was only one grocery store or one auto repair shop in town your brand didn’t matter very much. If people wanted to buy food or fix their cars, they patronized the local grocery store or body shop; they had no other choice. But today we can get almost anything from dozens of similar businesses. And, for the most part, we can choose the type of purchasing experience we want: we can shop online, buy from catalogs, visit brick-and-mortar stores or watch the shopping channel. We live In an age of tremendous consumer choice. Brands make choices easier to understand. In today’s market, brands have become the critical primary driver behind our purchasing choices.Read More
In the moment of decision, all of our positive and negative thoughts are weighed on a mental scale. If there are more pros than cons, we make a purchase. Otherwise, we don’t. But we don’t make a list of pros and cons for each product every time we visit the grocery store — a single trip would take hours! We use the brand as a mental shortcut to make these kinds of decisions very quickly. When you walk down the soda aisle in the grocery store, it may take only an instant to decide whether to buy Coke or Pepsi or Sprite or something else. You don’t have to read the labels — the brand makes it possible to make these quick purchasing decisions.Read More
As an entrepreneur, you must define expectations that clearly create a perception of value. If you are going to offer expensive products or services, you must make that clear through every facet of the customer experience. Otherwise, your customers will not assume that the price you charge accurately reflects the worth of your products and services. And if you want people to think that your products and services are bargains, you must also generate those expectations. Before we see the price tag, we already have an idea of what something should cost. The price tag only confirms or contradicts the perception of value that we have already developed.Read More
As you develop your business, you will need to plan how you want your brand to be perceived over the long term and understand how to change your brand as needs dictate. Many small businesses create a brand and then stop, hoping that the initial push will be enough to generate business far into the future. But as competitors arrive and new trends emerge, a brand must revitalize itself to stay present in the minds of existing and potential customers.Read More
The same will be true for your business — the brand you create will be compared to all the other brands in the marketplace, and this comparison will determine whether or not anyone does business with your company. In order to establish a strong brand in the minds of potential customers, you must develop certain feelings and beliefs that potential customers may use to generate expectations and rationalize a purchase.Read More
Each entrepreneur must offer a rationale for every purchase. It may be as simple as a label, or it may be a cultivated, long-term relationship with a salesperson. But however it’s delivered, this information becomes the catalyst for making a decision. As you create a brand for your business, you must clearly provide information about your products and services, describing how they compare with others in the marketplace. In our information-rich society, the difference between success and failure may be the quality of information that potential consumers receive.Read More
A brand is a mental image that includes everything an individual thinks and feels about an organization. Lots of pieces make up this complex puzzle; understanding the basic components is the first step in building a strong, long-lasting brand and a valuable customer base.Read More
Quote for the Week:
The first step in finding success is defining it.
— Kyle KirkRead More
"Branding" refers to long-term activities that speak to everyone, including your employees, vendors and the media. "Marketing" activities use your brand to appeal to a particular group of people for a specific reason, usually for a predetermined length of time.Read More
A brand is a mental image. “Branding” is the full set of activities that entrepreneurs engage in to build these mental images. Branding includes everything from your website and your signs to the way your store looks and the way your employees treat your customers. Branding also includes polices and procedures — infrastructure that ensures your brand will be maintained for the life of your business.Read More
Brands are products of the mind. And just as each of us has our own thoughts and feelings, each of us carries a slightly different mental image for each of the companies we interact with, formed from all of the communications we see and every experience we have. These mental images — which we call "brands" — are the tools we use to make decisions about what we will buy and who we will do business with. As such, they are critical to the success of every entrepreneur.Read More
A little girl puts a table in her front yard. She sets out glasses and a big pitcher of lemonade and ties a few balloons to the back of a chair, letting them bounce in a breeze that provides only a little relief from the summer sun. If you walked by and saw her, what would you assume? You might think she was setting up for a friend’s birthday party. You might wonder if she was getting ready for a teddy bear conference. But if you see her hang a big sign on the front of the table that announces, “Ice Cold Lemonade, just $1.00!” the mystery would be solved — you know that this little girl is embarking on an entrepreneurial venture.Read More
A simple formula can quickly winnow down the wide array of available communications channels. The question of “how you attract attention” is answered by the product of the average number of sales you need to reach your goals and the average revenue per sale:
G = R*NRead More
The Internet has changed everything. The space between the business owner and the customer has vanished. Interpersonal communications can be as private as an in-person conversation or as public as a Yelp review. Entrepreneurs no longer control the conversation, they have become a part of it. A wide variety of available communication channels, each with associated costs and demands, must be evaluated against the potential for immediate and long-term customer value.
Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. When you want to connect with your customers, how do you begin?Read More
Organizations do what they can to attract our conscious attention, but we don’t give it away easily, and this is the entrepreneur’s first hurdle. No matter how you choose to attract customers, you first have to consciously engage their minds. When we read your tweet or look at your ad; when we peer into your front window or glance at your billboard, what are you giving us in exchange for our attention?Read More
The best way to apply the skill of empathy to the development of your business is by walking through the customer thought process. Step-by-step, you can discover a wide variety of methods for turning strangers into customers.
Before the Sale: first get attention, then create desire.
During the Sale: establish value in the mind as customers evaluate your offering on its own merit and compare your offering with your competitors.
After the Sale: remind customers of your value, then create or rekindle desire.
Value is in the mind of the beholder.
— Kyle KirkRead More
Earlier this week I wrote a post about building a brand by telling a story. Sometimes the story is about an innovative company founder. Sometimes the story is one of revolutionary products. But once in a while a story emerges that combines the two: a founder with a vision and products that change the way we interact with the world.Read More
Communication is the only available bridge between two minds.
— Kyle KirkRead More