Branding, Positioning, and Messaging

What is the story behind your business? What is the purpose of the company? Why does it exist? Who does it serve? What Makes it different? It's fine if the story is as straightforward as, "we provide value for 30 cents on the dollar," as long as people buy the story, both literally and figuratively.

"We went to X school and have Y degree and you should trust us." This is not a brand story. People don't give Z about that. What thought comes into someone's mind first when they think about your business? That's your brand.

"Don't try to use facts to prove your case and to insist that people change their biases.  You don't have enough time and you don't have enough money.  Instead, identify a population with a certain worldview, frame your story in terms of that worldview and you win." - Seth Godin

What it Means

Defining your brand goes beyond a catchy logo or a stylish website (but you probably need those). Your brand is the embodiment of your company's values, mission, and unique selling propositions. It's an interplay of what your company stands for, how it operates, and how it is perceived by your customers. Branding involves creating an image and personality for your company that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart from the competition. It's about creating a name, a story, an emotion that people associate with your business.

A brand is a promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from competitors'. It's embodied in your messaging to both the marketplace and within your organization. The best brands are clear, concise, and impactful.

Why it matters

Customer Recognition: Customers tend to choose brands they recognize. Getting into the customer's mind is the first step. Hopefully the way your brand makes customers feel leads to increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Competitive Edge: In a crowded marketplace, having a unique and strong brand helps you stand out. It positions your business as being different, whether that's a difference in product/service or trust, and offers a clear reason for customers to choose you over others.

Customer Loyalty and Trust: If you've made your brand promise to your customers, then your adherence to that promise fosters customer loyalty and trust. It gives your customers something to believe in and something to stand behind.

Supports Advertising: A strong brand adds some muscle to your advertising and marketing campaigns. Brand can add depth and personality to your marketing collateral, making it more effective and compelling.

Practical Example

Consider the Tesla. Do you remember that the first car they produced was the Roadster? It was branded as a high-performance, luxury electric car. Is that how people think about Tesla's brand today?

Their brand isn't just about electric cars, and it's more than Elon Musk. At its core, Tesla is a revolution masquerading as a car manufacturer. It's about harnessing cutting-edge technology to challenge the status quo and reshape the future. 

Tesla's brand isn't built on the traditional constructs of advertising. They've never spent massive amounts on television ads or billboards. Instead, they have leveraged the power of storytelling, intrigue, and the charisma of Elon Musk to build a brand that is synonymous with innovation and sustainability. It's a testament to the power of a compelling narrative and the importance of authentic brand expression.

Take a step back and look at Tesla's electric vehicles. They are more than just cars; they are characters in a bigger narrative that speaks about sustainable transportation and a clean energy future. 

Tesla's branding connects with people on an emotional level. People don't just buy a Tesla because they want an electric vehicle. They buy it because they want to be a part of the revolution. They buy into the vision of a sustainable future that Tesla embodies.

And here's the most intriguing part: this entire branding exercise isn't the result of calculated branding strategies or marketing gimmicks. It is a by-product of Tesla's audacious vision, its groundbreaking products, and its uncompromising commitment to that vision. The Tesla brand is the Tesla experience - raw, unfiltered, and revolutionary. That, my friends, is a remarkable example of powerful, authentic branding.

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