As an entrepreneur, you must often focus on the measurable. If you cannot measure it, you often cannot justify it to your investors. Saying that your current marketing campaign feels right is a great way to lose an investor.
One of the few exceptions is your branding. There are intellectual elements to it, but that’s not all there is. How it feels matters to your customers. Even an intellectually convincing brand can fall flat if it doesn’t feel right to them. Here are a few emotional elements of branding you must be aware of.
For many entrepreneurs, this is the most difficult element to personally foster. For many people, your start-up will be their first experience of you. They have nothing to work on but your word. One of the first things you must build up is trust. It cannot really be measured, though people can say that they trust one thing more than another.
The best way to develop trust through your brand is to deliver on what they expect. Fortunately, this is mostly in your control. You must make sure your brand promises exactly what you can deliver. Every disappointment or broken promise makes it difficult for you or your start-up to be trusted. You don’t even have to disappoint someone in your target audience – word of mouth can directly impact your target market’s view of you.
Would you trust an investor who has a history of lying? Probably not. They could promise you the world but if you can’t rely on them delivering, you may as well wish on a star.
That’s how your customers will view you if your brand lacks integrity – or if it feels like it lacks integrity. Much like your trustworthiness, this is a matter of living up to the kind of values your customers expect your start-up to have. If your brand involves helping the needy, for example, you must live up to it or risk being viewed as a fake.
Your life as an entrepreneur can be described as a web of relationships. Build the right ones with the right people and you’ll find success. For example, successfully cultivating healthy relationships with your partners and suppliers tends to lead to a more harmonious work environment. Failing to do so can make an already difficult endeavor almost impossible.
Your consumers can and will pay attention to the connections you make. For example, how they view your brand will not just rely on how you treat them personally, but on how you treat other customers. If they notice you’re not listening to them, they’ll think that you could do that to anyone and lose faith in your start-up.
How you treat your professional relationships is also of interest to them. They’ll notice the company you keep and how you treat them. A long time ago, entrepreneurs did not have to worry about it. Nowadays, people tend to air out anything that displeases them on very public forums. Take care in your professional negotiations, as anything that can be taken against you will likely end up used that way.
It’s unfortunate, but as an entrepreneur what people think of you holds almost as much sway as what you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re giving them an incredible product – if the public is against you, you’ll have trouble gaining market presence. People will judge your start-up and your offering based on what others think of you. That’s the fact of the matter, and you can either complain about it, do something about it, or both.
Your standing or reputation is a matter of consistency. Do something often enough and it’ll become attached to your name. Provide excellent customer service and people will attach that concept to your brand. Decide on what you want to do consistent and construct the company in such a manner that it can support it.
As much as you may want it to be, your success as an entrepreneur comes down to more than just your product. Public perception of your brand holds an immense amount of sway. Before they encounter your product they’ll likely encounter the idea of your start-up. If they don’t like it, they won’t give your offering a second long. Craft the right image and you’re headed for success.