Do You Have a Value Statement?

What is a value statement? A value statement is a declaration of a business’s top priorities and beliefs. These are used not only to remind employees of what a business’s goals are, but to connect with targeted consumers.

 

Your value statement, like your brand, will set you apart from other businesses. When it comes down to it, what do you really want to accomplish with your business? What do you really want to engage in your potential customers to make them identify with you? Remember, your business isn’t just about what you want, it’s also about what your customers want.

 

With so much media clutter out there, it’s important to be unique. If you look and sound like everyone else, then you are just going to blend into the clutter — and that’s not what great brands do. How can you set yourself apart? Think about it from a consumer’s point of view. If you were a consumer looking for the services your kind of business offers, what would you want that business to look and feel like in order for you to trust it? What kind of priorities would you want that business to have to earn your business?

 

Answering these questions will not only help you determine what your values are, but they will help you determine your target market as well. People don’t want just a service or product — a service or product is the bare minimum. People want a service or product that they can relate to and makes them feel something. A value statement brings in those feelings that help people connect a service or product to their business needs. So decide what it is you value, and what you think it is that your customers value, and create a statement that cultivates those feelings.

On Budget? Here’s Three Ways to Spend Those Marketing Dollars

When you’re on budget and you have a bit more time to focus on marketing, there are several things you can do to grow your business’s reach.

  1. Outsource if you don’t have the time:
    It’s easy to get caught up in work for our clients, so wouldn’t it be easier to have someone else do our own marketing work? Hiring in someone to do those odd jobs that we don’t quite have the time to do is a great way to get things done. College students and recent graduates are great candidates for this type of work because they are eager to gain experience and eager to make money. Basic marketing does not require a lot of experience therefore you don’t need to hire someone who will cost you an arm and a leg. And, younger people are already adept at using technology and social media.
  2. Focus on Social Media:
    In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative to have a web presence. Nearly everything is done online now, so if you can’t be found on the web, it’s as if you don’t exist. Three of the most important social media outlets to be on are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    1. Facebook is such a multi-faceted network that allows people, businesses, organizations, events, news, and campaigns to be followed and interacted with. You want to be not only on Facebook but active. Even the smallest interactions on Facebook remind people that you are there, and that has far more impact than not being online at all.
    2. Twitter is as close to live-action social media as we can get right now. In 140 characters, we deliver a message to the world. It’s short, sweet, and constantly flowing. It allows businesses to interact directly with people in its market and vice versa. Your presence on Twitter means that you really exist in this moment and you’re ready to do business.
    3. LinkedIn is less common-people oriented, and more professional-oriented. This is the kind of social networking you want to do in order to maintain business relationships and find new business connections. People don’t necessarily always remember your business, but they will remember you.
  3. Create a professional quality brand identity:
    It is important to always be checking up on how your brand is being perceived. Is it being perceived positively? Is it being perceived the way you want it to be perceived? Is it even on anyone’s radar? To get your brand bumping around people’s heads, you need a logo. A visual to represent your business is important because it’s an immediate and easy association to your business. Ask yourself what you want people to remember about your business and how you can represent that in a logo. Another classic way to get your brand out there is by printing business cards. You will want a design that’s easy to read and includes your logo, name, business, phone number(s), website address, email address, and physical address (if applicable). Don’t leave off your email! The less information you provide, the harder it will be to contact you and the less people will be motivated to use your business.

Marketing is all about building a presence, relationships, and drumming up business. The only way your business will grow is if you make an effort to reach out!

Brand Consistency: Why You Need It

Building a brand is tricky. You want people to think of your business uniquely. Ideally, you want to create a “vibe” that not only connects you with your market but associates a specific meaning within the mind of the consumer. In order to establish such a position, this requires a synchronicity between your brand strategy, brand message, and brand appearance. In other words, you need consistency.

 

Once you have established an idea for your brand, you begin to actualize this by putting out a message. Who are you? What do you offer? How are you different from the competition? These are the questions your message will answer. And once you have your message — stick with it. The longer you continue to put out your unique message, the more familiar it will become to people. And the more familiar it becomes, the more you build credibility. When it comes down to it, the consumer will seek out people and services that they recognize. So it’s important to be persistent with the same message — branding doesn’t happen overnight!

 

Your brand appearance should be consistent with the brand message. Think about it this way — the brand message is the meaning that you desire people to associate with your brand, whereas the brand appearance is how your message is actually perceived. You want to always be working toward closing the gap between your desired perception of your brand and the consumer’s perception of your brand.

 

Be aware that even the subtleties of your brand have an effect on the perception of your brand! If you’re a spa business and you want to brand your business with the colors black and red, your message may not be consistent with your appearance. Black is a very mysterious color often associated with fear and insecurity and red is often associated with high energy and sometimes aggression or anger. The associations that people have with black and red are not ones that would communicate a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation — the feelings you seek from a spa. So this would be an example of a lack of consistency between brand message and brand appearance.

 

Matching your brand message to your brand appearance is achieved through a brand strategy. Not all methods work the same for every message. If you are going to claim to be a “local” expert, then you need to do something truly local with your look and feel. If you’re a St. Louis local for example, one strategy to accomplish this might be to associate yourself with St. Louis sports teams like the Cardinals, the Blues, or the Rams. But this particular strategy may not work if you’re claiming local expertise as a bar owner, because most bars in St. Louis already associate themselves with the St. Louis teams. So another strategy to establish your brand message of “local expertise” may be in order.

 

When building a brand, cohesion is also key. However it should be noted that cohesion and consistency are not the same thing. By definition, consistency is doing the same thing predictably, whereas cohesion is doing things in a way that create unity. You can be successful in positioning your brand, having cohesion between your message and your appearance, but if you aren’t consistent your brand won’t last. Cohesion establishes your brand, but consistency builds it up. If you keep changing your message, people won’t be able to keep up with who you are and they will lose interest or forget about you.

 

Therefore it is important to find a look and feel and stick with it. Because the more you repeat a message, the more space it takes up in a person’s mind. Consistency is key!