Building Your Brand With 4 Simple Questions

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Branding can be a powerful tool in the development of your business. It can increase your recognition and successfully differentiate you from your competitors. An effective brand can also communicate your value proposition, clarify your market niche and help you demonstrate your expertise to potential customers. You can build a successful brand by answering 4 simple questions.

1. Who do I serve? In other words, who are your customers and who do you want to have as customers? Many business owners make the mistake of casting a wide net that includes as many potential customers as possible. Avoid this mistake by focusing on a relatively small market niche where you can offer unique value and expertise. For example, as a cycling coach, I specialize in power development. Specifically, I work with competitive cyclists and multisport athletes who want to increase their power on the bike. Likewise, a management consultant might specialize in performance coaching for front-line supervisors in the automotive industry. Make sure you are clear about your particular market niche.

2. What value do I provide? This question is arguably the most important because it refers to your value proposition, which is what your customers are able to do because of you. For example, if you are an engineering consultant, what is it that your clients can do because of your services? If you sell sports nutrition products, what do these products enable your customers to do? What value do you provide as a cosmetics distributor? You must have a very clear and concise answer to this question if you are going to develop a successful brand.

3. How do I help my customers achieve this value? Specifically, what products and/or services do you offer that allow your customers to obtain the aforementioned value? For example, I provide value to my cycling and multisport athletes through my publications and the one-on-one coaching process. A management consultant might provide value through the 360° feedback process for individual supervisors. A store owner might provide value through competitive pricing, the procurement of higher quality goods and specialized customer services. Make sure you are clear about how you achieve your value proposition.

4. How does this differ from my competitors? In other words, what is your competitive advantage? Why should a potential customer buy your goods and services instead of those offered by a competitor? What tangible and intangible steps do you take to exceed the value provided by your competitors? These are not easy questions to answer, but it is important to be clear about how your products and services differ from the competition.

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