‘Your brand is a voice and product a souvenir’ – Lisa Gansky
With innovation today ranging from the selfie toaster to the self-driving electrical car, it often becomes hard for a new or inexperienced product/service/company to get a foothold in the market. Conceptualising, designing and even producing your product/service is the easier part of your entrepreneurial journey. The challenge mainly lies in reaching out and connecting with the masses of unknown people across the multitude of villages, cities and even countries in a way that actually convinces them to let go of their hard earned money. Now that’s a challenge! A tough one too.
According to the Small Business Association, 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10 years. It’s almost shocking that only 25% go on to make it for 15 years or more. The game you’ve entered is a tough one my friend. A true test of your stamina, will power, grit and everything you have in you. But before you start to panic, know that life doesn’t necessarily have to be as testing or difficult. For you, it can actually be rather simple. How? By using this open secret that we’ve spent years refining into a sure shot process. So come closer. Read this bit extra carefully. It’s literally the difference between having your moment at the very top of the mountain and crashing straight to the bottom. The key to it all is BRAND.
If you want to understand the true gravitas of solid brand building, consider the more personal phrase ‘Your reputation precedes you.’ A phenomenal brand is the difference between ‘this looks cool, I wonder how it tastes’ and ‘oh, McDonalds just came out with a new breakfast range? I HAVE to try it!’ It’s the difference between, ‘This product is on discount, might be of a bad quality.’ and ‘OMG, Nike is on sale, I’ve been waiting all year to catch this.’
What you should find most exciting about all this is that it’s actually relatively easy and super fun to brand build. In fact, it’s so simple that we’re going to tell you exactly how to do it. But, for the moment, you’re going to have to stop salivating cause you’re not going to find that information in this article. Why? Because if you truly want to reach the pinnacle of success, you’re going to have to start at the base. So here are a few things you should have in place way before you even consider branding.
What are you looking at scaling?
Let’s look at Apple, a company which for decades has looked at scaling the mountain of best in class customer experience using technology. They don’t pick their products first. They first decide what legacy they want to leave in their wake and then carefully craft products that have the highest possibility of achieving that goal. To get business success, you must adopt a growth mind-set and realise that your product is an outcome of your company’s goal and not the goal itself. Identify your legacy and then communicate it in the best way you can.
Do you have the right tools required to make the climb?
If you’re a professional freelancer like a photographer, it literally pays to know the difference that lenses, camera types, lighting etc. make in capturing the perfect photograph. Similarly if you were to climb a mountain, it’d greatly benefit you to know the ins and outs of the tents, ropes and food you’d carry. You’d need to know what would work in which situation during your ascend. Designing a product or service is much like this. You need to have complete knowledge of where your product/service can be used to the max of its ability, in which situations it’ll thrive and in which situations it’ll fail. Know that it’s okay to not be perfect at the very start but do keep in mind that your value proposition should not be so undercooked that competition easily beats it.
Who are the people supporting your climb up?
Imagine you’re the best cell phone producer in the world. Literally better than anything Apple and Google could produce by a freaking landslide. However instead of courting people between the ages of 18 and 35, you focus on the 70 + and focus all your money, time and energy on convincing them to buy your product. Would it work? Would they even understand what you’re trying to say? Probably not! Similarly, it’s very important to understand who your exact target audience is. Regardless of the product or service, you always have an ideal customer; someone you can convince 99.9% of the time to purchase your product or subscribe to your service. It’s your duty to find out the exact break up of that person i.e. their gender, language, cultural preferences, likes, dislikes etc. and consistently and constantly speak their language. At the end of the day, we’re all in business to make money.
What makes you better than the others scaling the same peak?
There are numerous instances of competition, disruption and even bad planning which has led to the steep downfall of business untouchables. Be a Netflix, not a Kotak. Study your market and competition. See where the gaps are and focus on plugging it. If you plug enough gaps with a high quality product/service at a reasonable fee, you’re a quantum leap closer to the top.
Remember this Mr. Entrepreneur, building a successful and stable business empire is not easy. It’ll probably be one of the most challenging activities of this life. Putting your hard-work, sweat and tears out there for random people to just form opinions on and downright judge requires guts. Thankfully today, the world is a much more conducive place for entrepreneurs. The market itself provides trustworthy and competent business friends, comrades and partners in the industry who can help you get straight to the top where you belong. All you got to do is figure out exactly where you need a hand.
This article is authored by by Shashwat Das, Founder, Almond Branding