Posted Friday, February 18, 2005
Feel that? The crisp tingle in the air? It's fall. Fall ushers in the promise of eating, seeing, and getting. It's my favorite time of year. By now, kids are settled into school, sweaters set free from mothballs, and it's an amazing time to... BUY.
I don't know about you; but for some reason this time of year lowers my normal customer resistance to retail and turns up my desire to buy, buy, buy. And not just anything. Products I've come to know have reliable value to me. You too?
Think about it. It starts with buying Halloween candy. Do you reach for the no-name orange cellophane wrappers of chocolate dots, or do you buy the mini packages of M&M's? I know! Me too! Why is that? It's the same thing! But, the brand of M&M's represents a certain quality that we have come to know as valuable. And left with candy at the end of the evening, that's what I want to be gobbling on. It doesn't matter how long the product has been on a shelf, an M&M is still an M&M.
A favorite thing I like to do in fall is cruise through the stores and see what "they" think "we'll" buy. This past weekend, I stepped into Crate & Barrel (a personal favorite) and went weak in the knees!
I walked from beautiful table setting to even more beautiful table setting and I thought about the perception that Crate & Barrel had created in me. As I drooled over the dishes, I imagined how the quality of my life would change if I brought them home. (A little bubble appeared to the side of my head. I saw an image of me overhearing holiday guests comment about how beautiful my table was, and subsequently how great I was.) The bubble faded as I dissected how Crate & Barrel created that impression in me. How did they get me to think that?
I passed through living room settings that I would give my left pinkie toe to own (it's okay, I'm right footed). I ran my hand over the fabrics and textures. Rich leathers. Deep colors. Luxuriant fabrics. All things I'd spend my money on to give my 10-year old living room a facelift. They established in me a certain quality! And somehow they knew what areas I needed to fix up... my boring dining room dishes, my tired living room. Hmmm... Hmmm... a specific quality and knowledge of my problem.
At each display was a sign that had a certain look. A color. A typeface. Even the way it was laid out on the page! It all matched the quality I got from the home décor items I so desperately wanted. (By the way, I never knew I wanted an orange pear- shaped leather vase before.) I picked up their holiday catalog. Lo and behold, not only did it show the picture of the coveted pear-shaped leather vase, but the typefaces and colors matched the signs in the store. Hmmm... consistent communication and imaging. I started to tingle.
As I passed the jewel-toned velvet pillows, I thought, "Crate & Barrel is no different from the companies and small business owners that we help." They are no different from YOU. Or are they? Let's see...
• A product or service that is every bit as good and valuable as Crate & Barrel.
• You fix a problem or change the quality of life for your clients as much if not more than Crate & Barrel.
After that, it can break down for small businesses and solo-preneurs.
You may not have:
• Consistent imaging (e.g., business card, website, brochures, leave-behind, product packaging, etc.)
• The deep understanding of how to communicate "the brand" of your business that can translate to your entire support team/staff. (This is easy and affordable to do with BrandU. That's why it was created.)
And most importantly, what most entrepreneurs tend to forget or, sadly, never deeply establish:
• A huge, non-wavering belief in what you are bringing to people.
You have just as much of this as the people who created Crate & Barrel. They just have more practice at it and had enough vision to bring in partners to help them grow and communicate it.
The last three points are crucial to your business success and easier to address than you think. Simply:
• keep up the value of your service and product AND,
• adopt a brand mindset!
It's where EVERY brand starts BEFORE they're a brand. In our upcoming book, Why BrandU, we go into the reasons why it's imperative for entrepreneurs to gain the power of branding. You CAN have large business success, no matter what size you are.
This holiday season, I share with you these TWO simple brand mindset tips:
• As you're out (or online) shopping, pause a moment and think about the reasons you buy the things you buy and,
• See how you can apply those reasons to your business.
After strolling around Crate & Barrel for over an hour (which flew by like 5 minutes), I joyfully left with the most amazing vase for my table AND I was filled with a great sense of delight and excitement; knowing YOU can be just as big!
© 2003 Castle Montone, Limited All Rights Reserved.
About the Author
Written by Kim Castle, the Co-founder of BrandU™ — the home of only step-by- step process for developing your business as a brand from the inside out!
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