I have recently been re-reading Tom Peters 2003 book Re-Imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age. Even though the book is over a decade old it contains what I consider to be excellent advice to small business owners. This is the first of several posts related to Tom’s work, so check back regularly.
The first point that caught my eye was Tom’s take on “branding.” Many people think that branding is getting a cool logo, letterhead, and making sure that every time something is produced the customer always see’s the same thing.
Mr. Peter’s disagrees, he feels branding is much bigger than that. He believes you must ask yourself five questions. Not just once, but on a regular basis to ensure your business is staying on track.
The questions are:
- “Who are you?”
- “Why are you here?”
- “How are you unique?”
- “How can you make a dramatic difference?”
- “Who cares?”
Who are you? – How do you define your product/service? What do you do? Example: “I sell insurance.” Really, that’s weak. What are you really providing? Protection, Peace of mind… If you cannot define what you do, then do you really know what business you are in?
Why are you here? – This relates back to who you are. Mr. Peters defines this as “What do you want to tell the world in the future? What does your company have that will enrich the world?… What is my mission in life?
How are you unique? – This is the biggest point every business must be able to clearly, eloquently, and definitively be able to convey to potential clients or run the risk of being thought of as merely a commodity. If you cannot differentiate from your competition then the only thing you compete on is price. Your uniqueness sets you apart. What additional value does the customer receive when working with you verses working with your competition? Former Proctor and Gamble marketer, Doug Hall, in his book Jump Start Your Business Brain offers up three “laws” of “marketing physics” which neatly define uniqueness:
- Overt Benefit: What is the product’s “One Great Thing?” Not the 20 great things the One great thing. Too many benefits only confuse and distract.
- Real Reason to Believe: Does your company REALLY and CONSISTANTLY deliver that “One Great Thing?”
- Dramatic Difference: Is the “One Great Thing” truly unique. Studies show that nothing predicts future success better than having a that “something” that sets you apart from your competition.
Who Cares? – In the previous four points, it has been about the “what”. This final point is about the “SO WHAT?” Who cares? You better care. Without Passion, Emotion, Caring you really doesn’t have a dramatic difference. The transfer of your enthusiasm for your product is how you tie everything together.
If you can successfully answer these five questions you will have created a powerful brand that will be much more valuable than a fancy logo or web page.