No brand is universally loved. Each of us carries a slightly different mental picture of each company and product we encounter, and our mental scales weigh the pros and cons of making each purchase. In order for a business to survive, there must be a critical mass of people who come down on the “yes” side and choose to do business with that company. A company that creates and maintains enough customers to reach its goals has developed a strong brand. There’s only one way to create a strong brand: generate lots of positive impressions that work together to form a positive mental summary in members of a specific audience.
When we go to lunch at a new restaurant, each part of the experience makes an impression on the mind. Everything counts: the taste, appearance and smell of the food; the demeanor and attentiveness of the waiter; the style of the interior, from the walls and windows to the dishes and the menu; the cleanliness of the bathrooms, tables and chairs; the music and the noise level — all of the thousands of facets of the experience that add positive and negative impressions to the mental summary. By the time lunch is over, we’ve developed a brand — a summary of these mental images — and we describe that brand in one of two ways:
“That was great! Let’s eat there again.”
“That was awful. We won’t be going back.”
The brand develops in the mind of each person, regardless of whether or not the business owner chooses to build that image intentionally or unintentionally. The brand combines every part of the experience with each customer’s beliefs, needs and wants. Your brand is a complex, internal idea, and you, the business owner, have only partial control of it. But there are some simple, straightforward ways to build a strong brand, and you already have the tools you need.