What’s the best way to build a brand from scratch? By listening to other people.
Vincent Rescigno asked me on Facebook if I would cover this topic, and so I am. Thank you for the question, Vincent. If you’ve got a topic that you want me to talk about on Jay Today, leave me a comment on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, or other.
So Vincent asked, “How do you go about creating a brand from scratch?’ It’s a great question. It’s what my pal Tom Webster calls the theory of the firm. Why do you exist? What is the point of this organization existing at all?
Find Your Only We
Mark Schaefer has a really good way of thinking about this. He calls it the “only we” dynamic. His recommendation is that you ask yourself, “Only we . . .” When you finish that sentence, that is what your brand is all about. Only we can do this particular thing. Only we stand for this particular thing.
If you don’t understand the one thing that you do different or better than anybody else, then you do not have a brand that is differentiated or distinguished.
But here’s the other side of that coin…
Seek an Outside Opinion
My friend, Steve Woodruff, runs a company called Clarity Therapy, which is all about helping people understand their brands and making them tighter. He is really adamant about this concept of not doing your brand building yourself, that you just get way, way, way too close to it and lose the ability to perceive your own differentiation.
Steve sent me an illustration from GapingVoid, rendered as a lucite paperweight. It reads “You cannot read the label of the jar that you’re in.” No truer statement has ever been made. It is so hard to figure out what your brand is when you’re doing it from the inside out.
If you’re trying to build a brand from scratch I recommend answering Mark Schaefer’s “only we” question, but doing so with Steve’s method of getting people from outside your organization to help you. Customers. Potential customers. Friends. People who will tell you the truth. Have them help you figure out your differentiation.
Only then can you create the theory of the firm.
Sprout Social Shoutout
Today’s Sprout Social Shoutout goes to Mr. Steve Woodruff, who is a terrific and very smart consultant out of Nashville who has a ton of B2B and pharma experience. Follow him in social media, won’t you?
This video is from Jay Today is my near-daily 3-minute video where I talk about social media, content marketing, business and life. JayToday is available on Youtube, iTunes (as a video podcast, and now as an audio podcast too), and at JayToday.tv. The show is sponsored by Sprout Social (which I use for my social media), and Candidio (a great video editing service).