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Building market share that generates positive margins rarely happens by accident. It requires business awareness, a viable concept, a team of experts and a thoughtful expression of your values - for investors, sellers, customers and employees alike.
Stakeholders, including the community, will form conclusions and opinions about your organization without your help, so it’s best to proactively put brand messages out into the world that reflect how you want to be recognized.
And above all, successful branding should help you stand out from the rest of the pack.
Table of Contents
1. Principles to help you stand out from the competition
Let’s start with a definition: brand positioning is the purposeful creation of a perception or image of your organization in the minds of investors, employees and other stakeholders. It includes building credibility, propagating values, demonstrating a unique value proposition, differentiating from competitors and cultivating goodwill.
For example, some differentiated brand positions for entrepreneurs include being a leader in:
- Operational and financial transparency.
- Developing companies that generate returns in line with the market.
- Community support and involvement.
- Protection of the natural environment and conservation of resources.
- Engagement and development of employees’ skills, well-being and creativity.
- Management of economic, financial and liability risk.
A brand position can include any combination of differentiators and can become complex. If not consciously controlled and developed, it can do more harm than good. A targeted brand positioning strategy is essential to exerting greater control over how you relate to a market.
Related: The importance of ‘positioning’ your brand when you are just starting out
2. Change your brand positioning to work for your growth efforts (not against it)
Every brand has a position, whether built intentionally or evolved organically. Some companies manage to achieve success without thinking about how the brand is perceived in the industry. That said, many more are left behind in the race due to the lack of an accompanying strategy that lets the community and potential customers know what it stands for, what it is best at and whether the organization aligns with the values and preferences of the community.
Clients and end users are looking for more than competitive prices and the best benefits. Likewise, investors want more than promises of superior returns. These benefits (e.g., incentives for demand and investment in a company) are ubiquitous in many companies’ brand messages, but it’s important to take it a step further.
Related: Why does an businessupdates.org need an Elevator Pitch?
3. Reflect on core competencies
Every plan to learn, improve and grow starts with an assessment. Think of this as enrolling in an educational program, hiring a consultant, or seeing a new doctor — all of these processes begin with establishing a baseline.
Indeed, we can pursue new (possibly diverse) business opportunities, or we can put money into marketing and other traditional revenue-generating activities. But the most economically efficient and highest growth results come from improving performance in current businesses and emphasizing those core competencies in branding and pitches.
Related: Six reasons why branding is more important than ever before
4. How to adequately measure performance
Most of us are eager to be a leader in our space, magnetically attracting opportunities, capital and talent. Fortunately, this can easily be achieved with good strategic planning, data management and brand development.
Still, sometimes that feels like a lofty goal, especially when we don’t have an objective understanding of where we excel and where we need improvement. With the complexity of businesses, it can be overwhelming to analyze performance in such a detailed and coherent way.
However, when we have the infrastructure and team to collect real-time data from every department or subsidiary in an organization, timely insights are immediately accessible. With such operational and financial data at hand, it becomes clear where we are making progress and what we need to do to maintain that lead and move forward. Combine that knowledge with business performance benchmarks and the results are actionable insights to create a plan to refine and expand core competencies.
But how do you determine and quantify what you are good at?
- Solicit stakeholder feedback and perspectives.
- Reflect as a team with frontline leaders and members.
- Collect and view performance data from departments and companies.
We may know that we are adept at generating returns, capturing market share and developing the products and services needed, but it is much more valuable and attractive to know Why — what enables us to perform well and how to maintain it. A value proposition backed by well-defined core competencies and supporting data gives dimension, personality and credibility to a brand image.
Related: 6 secrets to writing a better brand positioning statement
5. Keeping a company ahead of the curve
After looking at the data, you probably have a good idea of why stakeholders choose to work with and support you. If you can effectively articulate the factors that give you a competitive advantage, you will more easily win new and profitable business relationships.
What creates a convincingly differentiated brand position?
- Sharing your story and the human side of the organization.
- Emphasizing evidence of values and ethics.
- Demonstrate how to create a stable return for investors.
- Demonstrate how to create long-term value and consistently make good decisions by leveraging innovative business practices and technology.
- Creating a memorable visual brand (developing an attractive logo, complete with attractive colors and graphics).
- Tailor the brand voice to the communication preferences and style of the target market.
Potential and current investors, clients, employees and other stakeholders have many opportunities to borrow their capital, protection, time and expertise. If so, consistent and sustainable success requires sharpening your skills and projecting them with clarity and confidence.
By bringing together actionable data, identifying what an organization does best, working to do even better, and convincingly expressing strengths, the result is a brand synonymous with reliability and performance. This will inevitably lead to an excellent experience for all stakeholders.