Generating a crystal clear understanding of what your business offers and why that matters is essential to growing your ventures.....and launching them too!
More than 10 million women are currently running businesses across the U.S and each one has its own brand story. Some of these stories are crafted and conveyed more powerfully than others…and generally, these are the businesses that are the most successful.
No matter what stage our businesses are in, we all have lots of experiences interacting with businesses and brands on a daily basis. And we have favorites. For coffee, we may prefer Starbucks or Stumptown, Dunkin Doughnuts or Pain Quotidien. But why? What draws us? We know we can head to Starbucks if we want a foolproof Latte and safe WIFI connection anywhere in the world. Or, if we want a more relaxed, cozy, country French feeling, with our latte in a bowl and homemade baguettes, we can head to Pain Quotidien. We know what these brands stand for and what our experience will be like. No mystery involved.
It’s the same with work out clothes. We may prefer Athleta, or Lulu, or Sweaty Betty, but why? It’s more than just the fit of their clothes. These brands generate stories in our minds about how we’re going to interact and how we’re going to feel when we do. And then, we buy into that story. We want coffee? We head to Starbucks. Or PQ.
But oddly, for some reason, we often find it hard to describe our own businesses as powerfully, explaining the value of our products and services in a way that makes people want to do business with us.
Creating stories, particularly brand stories, has played a very important role in my own life as an entrepreneur. I started out as a kindergarten teacher and learned the value of powerful stories to attract and focus attention early on. I segued to children’s television and have been lucky enough to run my own media production companies for the past 30 years. Over that time, I’ve created 3 TV series and launched some of the earliest internet communities for kids and teens in partnership with AOL, CBS and Nickelodeon. I’ve raised millions of dollars from investors too, and I couldn’t have created any of those businesses and brands without clearly defining each brand’s unique value for audiences, media companies, investors, partners and advertisers. I had to be very clear about what set my brands and businesses apart from the competition….and what would keep my audience (and my customers) coming back day after day and week after week.
Telling our own stories and building an awareness of who we are, what we do and why that really matters to our customers, is an essential part of growing our ventures. As you craft and fine-tune stories for your own brands and launch and grow your businesses, here are a few things to think about, and questions to ask yourself:
• What does your company do? What are your values and purpose and what do you stand for? What is your vision for your business? How does your brand reflect your vision?
• Who are your customers? What products and services do you sell and how do/how will your customers to interact with your brand? What kind of experience do you want your customers to have and how do you want them to feel? What value do you bring that is different from other businesses like yours?
• What is the name of your business? Do you have a LOGO and tagline? Does your branding convey a clear message about what you stand for and what you offer? And is your branding consistent across your website, social media, business cards and print materials?
Don’t stress out if you find it difficult to answer all these questions immediately. It will definitely take some time to absorb these ideas, questions and concepts and you may want to hire a branding expert to help you. But one thing’s for sure. Having a clear understanding of the services you provide for your target audience and what makes you stand out from the crowd is essential to your success.