Assumption. You all know the old joke about what happens when you ass-u-me… but did you know that there is one assumption that most businesses make that can literally derail your entire PR and marketing program, and eventually, send your business crashing into anonymity? Worse, this assumption is so common that, when surveyed, more than 7 out of 10 business owners got it wrong.
We’re talking about branding. More specifically, we’re talking about understanding what your brand “is” in the marketplace, and knowing how to accurately communicate that information. While, as we said, more than 70% of business owners firmly believe they have an actionable understanding of their brand, the statistics show us that less than 15% have actually defined it in a workable, applicable, real world way. That’s fewer than ONE IN SIX business owners who have an adequate marketplace understanding of their brand. Dramatically worse, less than 5% are actually practicing that brand in any appreciable way in their day-to-day business at work.
These are otherwise intelligent, business-savvy professionals going about their day, ignoring the core of their public relations messaging. So where does that breakdown occur, and, more importantly, how can it be fixed?
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, said, today more than ever, your brand is more than just your calling card; it is how you communicate your value in a constantly-evolving multimedia world.
Not your “values” … your “value”. See, one of the reasons for this brand confusion was the trend a few years back to make your brand all about your values. In truth, your brand is more about how your customers see you, and what you can offer to them. That is how they establish your market value.
Notice we did not say brand had anything to do with the products or services you offered the marketplace. Instead, it is about how customers see you. What can they get from you? This question encompasses more than just products. It’s about service, price, convenience, respect, appreciation, knowledge… those things, and all the other reasons people will make a buying decision. It’s the reason people will stand in line to buy the next Apple device, and barely bat an eyelash when anything else is released on the market. Don’t think for one minute people are buying on features and benefits. They are buying based on what the brand means to them.
That is why this question – and the horrific set of assumptions that began this article – is so central to your business success. Your brand is absolutely core to your public relations. It is the WHY, and the HOW, and the WHO of your marketplace interaction. For far too long, too many businesses have settled on the WHAT, and the WHEN … and they still don’t know why no one cares.