When my younger sister, Bridget, and I were teenagers in the 1980s, we started doing this thing where we would correlate things we thought were cool with Coke and things we thought were not cool with Pepsi.
It went a little something like this:
Coke is to Pepsi...
...as Band-Aid is to Curad.
...as U2 is to Def Leopard.
...as Target is to Walmart.
...as Jif is to Skippy.
...as Miller Lite is to Bud Light.
...as Levi's are to Lee's.
...as Stiff Stuff is to Aquanet (this was the 80s!)
You get the idea. (P.S. There's a whole other level of this that includes RC Cola and Shasta, but that's for another time.)
Bridget and I didn't know it, but we created a whole game around our brand preferences.
It's a good lesson on the power of brands. Clearly, Band-Aids, U2, Target, and Levi's spoke to us in a way that resonated and delivered an experience that was reliable and positive that it created loyalty. And that loyalty was so clear, we created a game around it!
To this day, if I saw a Curad box in Bridget's house (and I better not), I would absolutely run out to wherever she is, hold the box up at her and yell," Pepsi!" And we're like in our 50s now.
There's nothing wrong with the other brands...they're just not our brands.
And that's the beauty of brands. It makes it easier to create a preference around. Trouble is, a lot of entrepreneurs think they're too small potatoes to be brand-worthy. And I'm here to tell you that's not true.
Your brand is happening whether or not you're putting any intention behind it. (So it's so much better to have intention right from the start!)
This Facebook Live gives a good Branding 101 that will shift the way you think about your business - and brand - right away.
Check out this Facebook Live for a little Branding 101.
I would love to hear from you with your Coke v. Pepsi brand moments! Comment and share your a-has with me.
I'm rooting for you!
A little pro marketing advice, because when you know what the pros do, you can do what the pros do and real quick, because seriously I have a call in five minutes. I just wanted to set the record straight as to what is a brand. I get that question a lot and it's really inherently misunderstood by a lot of people because there are a lot of components to it.
But it might not be what you think. So if you're thinking my brand is my logo. No... that is your brand identity critically important because it helps people identify you and recognize you, but it's not your brand. And you might be thinking, Oh, Heather, I got this. My brand is my brand story. And I'm going to say no.
That is your brand story. Critically important to have a repertoire of stories that you can call upon to help people build rapport and connect with your customers, but that's your brand story, again, critically important, but not your brand. So if it's your brand, isn't your brand story and it's not your logo then what is it?
And your brand is the sum of your customer's experience with you and that ultimately, so if you're thinking I am a one man shop, or I'm just starting to, I'm just starting in my business. And I am not brand worthy at all. Yes you are. Because it's the experience that people have when they work with you.
So whether or not you're paying it any attention it's happening anyway. Think about if, and just think about like brands you'll hear me say a lot, they really helped to simplify the decision making process. And really, if you think about Say Target and Walmart.
Those are two companies that have a similar business model, discount products and groceries, but very different customer bases and brands. A very different brand experience. I can tell you, cause I've looked. There is no People of Target website, lots of People from Walmart. Hey Pam.
Hi, I, again, Pam has been with me every single day. I'm so glad. And we were actually just talking about this yesterday. She and I, we were talking brand shop. So to some of your customer's experience with you, so let's say you are shopping at a department store in Nordstrom is a very nice high-end department store and they're known for having a really liberal return policy. Like you can literally return anything. There are all these stories about people who like return tires and things like that there. But let's say you went to Nordstrom and the sales person wasn't nice or, they do all these very nice things that they'll walk their bag across, around the counter to you and those kinds of things.
And let's say that didn't happen. It doesn't matter what their logo looks like. That is going to be your end impression. It doesn't matter what they're, that's, Nordstrom's a family owned business and it's like in the third generation, if you don't have a great experience in the actual environment, and when you're actually looking to buy something and then actually do the transaction.
So that is why the brand is so fundamental to what we do. Think about a wheel. It truly is like the hub of that wheel. And then everything else that you do is like a spoke that comes off of that. It helps to inform your logo. It helps to inform your brand story, right? All these things work together, but the brand really is fundamentally how the experience that people have when they work with you.
So the best brands really get ahead of this and they make sure that. They're really focusing on each of their customer touchpoints and figuring out and really determining how do I want people to experience my brand, my company, my experience at each of these touch points. And then they build a process around it to make sure that it can happen consistently because consistent implementation of that experience, consistency in that experience is what keeps consumers coming back.
Again think about the Nordstrom. You can buy the same pair of shoes at another department store, I can buy them online. But I can buy them at Nordstrom and if they work out great. And if they don't, it's a super easy return in a way, less of a hassle of sending something back to the mail or going to another department store, you just want to make sure that wait, Pam said, it is like a through line. Yeah. My through line, which is like that consistency in your brand experience. So you would maybe make that decision to buy something at Nordstrom because you know this about the brand and that you can rely on it. So super consistent, you want to have a consistency in experience.
A really good industry to look at as far as consistency and experience, as anything hospitality focused, think about hotels, right? Like a hotel guy, talk about a commodity business selling rooms to sleep. And why is one. Holiday Inn express, maybe $120 a night and then Ritz, Carlton.
$800 a night, right? Service, feel, experience all those kinds of things. So your brand is not your logo. That's your brand identity. It's not your story because that's your brand story. Your brand is the sum of your customer's experience with you. So really think about how you want your brand to show up and how you want that experience to be at every touch point.
And I'll tell you. You'll be ahead of a lot of other people who are starting their business. So take it easy, hope that helps have a amazing weekend. Pam, thanks for showing up with me all week. I love having you here and please remember that no matter where you are in this crazy beautiful changing world of ours.
If there's someone right here in Denver, Colorado, who is a 100000% rooting for you, take care guys. Bye bye.