When a new business wants to become known for something, they usually take a few different routes. They might put a page full of 10% off coupons or “save $99” deals in a local publication in an effort to jump start their customer base. They might setup kiosks in the mall and badger passers-by about their product. Or, they might go door-to-door and try to convert a “barely-interested” into a “ready-to-buy.”
These are incredibly common advertising techniques for young and old business alike, but they have a flaw. These aren’t marks of a serious business, because they are symptoms of a short-term mindset. Whether they’re devastatingly low on customers that month or not, chances are that’s how the public is going to perceive it. You’re not offering me 25% more for free because you are genuinely interested in my abounding need for your product, you just need more money. Actually, we don’t even see it as your need, it’s just what you want from us. These days it’s hard to give a business the benefit of the doubt, even a local one.
There is a company in my area that began a few years ago. I had heard of them at the time, but didn’t know much about them. Then I saw a billboard with their logo on it. Just their logo. It didn’t take long before these billboard were everywhere. Maybe not everywhere, but in all the right spots. High-traffic spots. They were one of the most known brands in their industry before I saw a single mailer, magazine ad, or tv commercial from them. All I ever saw was their logo, and maybe tagline.
This company took the time to look at the big picture and strategize about how to best get their name out there before contacting a single prospect. They knew that people would find them, and with a good product they would convert those people, and those people would, in turn, tell more people. Now, this company has coupons, they have displays at some events, and they probably even go door-to-door. But the difference here is that they’re using those techniques in a controlled way, appending to what they’ve already built with their consistent approach in the beginning.
Most business owners are too afraid to work this slowly. They assume that if they “drag their feet” by focusing on their brand, that the customers will come that much more slowly, but the opposite is true. Sure things might be slow in the beginning but that’s how building a business works, whether you build it well or poorly. A well-considered brand will have a compounding effect over time, so much so that every effort you make in the name of your brand will be boosted by the work you’ve already done to make that brand what it is.
I’ve said before that your brand is your 24-hour sales team, and this is why. You can’t have a salesperson present every time someone connects with your brand, and you wouldn’t want to anyway. Let your brand do the selling for you by doing the hard work up-front. Once you establish what your brand does, who it helps, and why, the public will understand the value of your product and why they wouldn’t go anywhere else.