7 Must-haves for Your Gutsy Brands!
“7 Must-haves for Your Gutsy Brands!” WOW!!! I love a good click bait title.
For those who don’t know, writing blog posts with lists – and a catchy title with a number in it – is a slightly manipulative marketing tactic, because marketers know people will click on them. And, as a rule, I can’t stand manipulative marketing tactics. “Buy one, get the second half off!” “Call within the next 20 minutes to get this cheap ass shirt you’ll throw away in three years!” “7 Must-haves For Your Gutsy Brands!”
I don’t like those tactics because they’re trying to force people into buying things they don’t need. I don’t feel bad about using a little click bait to make you click on this post, though, because this information is actually crucial for entrepreneurs.
And it’s a helluva lot more important than a half-off cheese grater.
For this list of 7 must-haves for your gutsy brands – which I typed again to manipulate the SEO a bit – I’ve decided to split the must-haves into two parts: the first being culture, and the second being strategy. We see those as two separate areas of branding. We believe that, while brand strategy is dictated by what the market will allow – as Jack Trout said in this video – brand culture is dictated entirely by you, the entrepreneurs of the world.
And now, before the rabid spider monkeys show up, let’s get to it.
Culture – Dictated By You
If someone asked me, gun to my head, whether brand culture or brand strategy is more important, I’d say brand culture. And here are, what I believe, the most important parts of it.
1. Your “Why”
I’ve written a whole lot on why the “why” is important. The most succinctly I’ve done so can be found at A Brand’s “Why” and Meppy Chriswanzukah! The fact is, I believe the “why” is so important, that when entrepreneurs don’t think they can afford our services, I give them homework anyway: figure out your “why,” and communicate it in every way you can. As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
And because you’re entrepreneurs who I’m sure dig passive income, you can do a lot of things – and have a lot of brands – with your powerful “why”! The “why” of Mayniax Branding is “The world is broken, and we believe entrepreneurs are the only ones who can fix it.” With that “why,” Vanessa and I can create new product or service brands, as long as they serve to empower entrepreneurs, which is what we believe in doing, anyway.
And that’s the trick: your “why” must be authentic. It must be you. You must believe it with every part of who you are. When you’re an entrepreneur, business must mix with personal because business IS personal.
2. Your Mission
Part of the reason your “why” is so important is because it’s the basis of your mission. And your mission needs to be something your team and those you help can rally behind. So put some feeling into it. Don’t let your mission sound like corporate drone speak. Because you’re not a corporate drone, and you don’t want your people to become corporate drones, either.
You want them to believe in the mission. And in you.
Strategy – Dictated By the Market
While I believe brand culture is ultimately more important than brand strategy, you’ll be able to help far fewer people without brand strategy, because potential clients won’t even know you’re there.
3. Your Differences
In 1981, Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote, “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.” In it, they talked about our over-communicated society, which alluded to a crowded marketplace, and theorized the idea that the only way to succeed is to stay in the minds of people. And the best way to position your brand in the minds of those people is by figuring out your differences, and using them.
We spend a lot of our time researching the differences between our clients and their competitors, because we believe whole-heartedly in Ries and Trout’s positioning idea. We also believe monkeys are funny. As long as they’re not the spider kind. Or rabid.
Sidenote: Holy crap! 1981 was before smart phones, tablets, and the interwebz! Does that mean we should call the present time our overly-OVER-communicated society?
4. Your Focus
It doesn’t get much easier than focus, especially considering I wrote Focus: A Brand Strategy Assignment, for all you gutsy entrepreneurs. Note: this is after “Your Differences” because you need to figure out your differences before you can figure out your focus.
When we think focus for our clients, we think “One brand, one product, one target market.” For an example on how a company came from near bankruptcy to the number one toy-maker in the world – all because of focus – check out LEGO: The Rise and Fall. And Rise.
5. Your Name
I’m gonna cheat and let Al Ries take care of this one.
6. Your Word
“What the crap are you talking about now, Dave?” It’s okay, I’ll explain.
Ultimately, Vanessa and I want “Mayniax” to stand for the branding category, just like how “Kleenex” stands for the tissue category. As a local Ann Arbor business, however, we need a word that’s gonna remind people of Mayniax Branding, first. And that word is “gutsy.”
Now, we didn’t come up with “gutsy” arbitrarily. We believe every entrepreneur is gutsy, by virtue of simply being an entrepreneur! And we think we’re a little gutsy, too. So, we decided to use that word all over the place so people who resonate with the word “gutsy” will associate it with Mayniax Branding.
Coming up with your word is just another way of planting your brand in the minds of the people!
7. Your Logo
Okay, first, I don’t hate logos. I do, however, hate that so many people think a logo is a brand. With that in mind, I’d like you to read Do People Forget Your Brand Because Your Logo Sucks? It’ll help you figure out what to do about your logo based on the Fortune 100 and – gasp – science!
“Your Logo” is number seven because, while a logo is remarkably important, what’s even more important is what that logo stands for. Without a “why,” without a mission, without knowing your differences, a logo’s a waste of time. Everything about a logo is figured out in your research. It’s a valuable part of your strategy. A strategy which should never be something like, “I like purple and cats!”
A logo may not be the most important thing about your brand, but it is too important to just wing it.
Bonus – Because I Can
Bonus 1. Consistency
Even people who think a brand is just a logo know the importance of consistency, but I didn’t want to write this without mentioning it. People need to continually see the same imagery and read the same message before they start recognizing it as your brand. So no more pink business cards, with green websites, and 18 different business names. Or the puppy gets it!*
Don’t worry – it’s an ugly puppy.
Bonus 2. Simplicity
In 3. Differences, I typed about what Al Ries and Jack Trout – all the way back in 1981 – called our over-communicated society, which alluded to the crowded marketplace. Way back when. In 1981. Because I think that needs repeating.
Our brains are hit with so many more stimuli during the course of our present day, that needless complexities are instantly forgotten in favor of far simpler things. Understanding this is why Apple changed its logo. It’s why we harp so much on focus. The more complicated your visuals and message, the easier they are to forget – for you and your potential clients.
Also, if you made it all the way through this one, congratulations and thank you! Just for that, your next coffee’s on you!
And I should probably stop typing, now.
*No puppies were harmed in the typing of this post