Branding your business: a bit like selling houses
If we've spoken recently, or you follow me on twitter, you'll know that my other half and I have been searching for a new home recently (I'm pleased to say that the whole horrid ordeal is over and we've found The One - hooray). It's been a really interesting journey, not least because it's been a process of buying our first home after renting a small cottage for the last few years. I've been fascinated by the way that different estate agents do business - you've got those who are incredibly keen, who go out of their way to help and always place a follow-up call the next day, juxtaposed by those who, frankly, can't be bothered. They all behave in distinctly different ways. And the way they present properties varies hugely, too.
One of the houses we viewed was photographed pretty badly, and the description was sparse. It really didn't tell you much about the house or the area, and certainly wasn't doing the vendors any favours. Not to be deterred, we went to view. And we liked it; it was a nice house. In fact - it was much nicer than the pictures in the sales brochure would have you believe. We decided against that particular house, but it made me smile when I saw it re-listed with another agent shortly after. At first, we didn't recognise it as being the same house. The pictures were amazing - it looked lovely! The estate agent's photographer had taken the time to stage the photos, lighting the fire, placing fresh flowers in the kitchen and setting the dining table. And the description of the property was a country mile away from the first listing too - the estate agent had put some real care and attention into writing some beautifully descriptive copy which made you really feel like you could make this house your home. Same house, different descriptions - one of which made the house hugely more desirable than the other.
You can apply this analogy directly to the way branding works for businesses
Take two businesses, with identical offerings - on paper, they're direct competition to each other. But apply carefully considered branding to one of them and you immediately elevate it from being the same as its competitor to something with unique character, making it more desirable and compelling prospects to buy. How can you describe your business differently to make it sound more desirable?