This month I read the book The Brand Mindset by Duane E. Knapp. Like the book I read last month, it was written almost 20 years ago, but many of the concepts in the book shed light on the brand discussion that we’re having today in ways that I don’t think we’re really embracing it. It’s also of note that almost all of the brands that were profiled in the book are still in business today, and had already been in business for many years when the book was written. Let’s take a look at few of the topics of the book and how they can help us with branding today.
Let’s start with what branding is. Branding is important because it can help differentiate one company from another. A brand reinforces that a business is more than their individual products or services. It also can help us as business owners better understand and communicate with our ideal customers.
One of the interesting things that was brought up in the book is something that is typically more connected to the hospitality industry (hotels, theme parks etc.) than businesses as a whole, and that’s the idea of calling a customer a guest. When you call them a guest you’re given the opportunity to treat them in a specific way, a way that you may not treat them if you just see them as a customer. A guest means they’re welcomed and honored, and you’re there to make their experience a great one.
All of this is true. Branding is very important as it reveals the business to your customers (guests), hopefully showing them a business they can identify with and can meet their needs, wants and desires. However there’s another side of branding that’s a big opportunity, and that’s how you can create your brand to teach the people you connect with how to treat and work with you as a business.
Think about it this way: when you’re a guest at a hotel or even in someone else’s home you’re usually a little more respectful of their stuff, you are a little more polite, and you work harder to make sure that everyone is on the same page (asking about the potential of upgrades or extra towels or what hours there are snacks/beverages available etc.). So if you want people to pay a fair price for your products and services, build a relationship with you to buy from you multiple times, not just rant online when something goes wrong, buy from you again even if/when something goes wrong, tell others about your products and treat you/your employees with respect, that’s something you could help establish and educate your potential customers about through the branding you develop.
What does your brand say about your business?