If you run your own business, one of the first things you should do is define the fabric of your brand––what does it stand for? It’s pretty common for many businesses not to have already done this, but it is hugely important and valuable in defining your direction and every decision. When working out “what should we do?”, you need a brand barometer to evaluate your choices against, so you are considering “what would our brand do?”.
Many business owners overlook the above because they aren’t aware it’s something that needs doing. Most of us are so focused on delivering the day-to-day that we forget the importance of why we are doing it and who for. Without our customers, we have no business, so we serve our customers’ needs and expectations and have to embody this in all that we do.
The underpinnings of your brand decision-making are all about ‘finding your why’;
Looking at what drives our business from our customers' perspectives, we start looking more from the outside in - the most important viewpoint we can have.
The aim is to write a short few lines, maximum a paragraph of around 50-100 words, defining what success looks like for your brand. You want this to be 'big thinking' about what you would like to achieve. This can be as big as you want it to be. There is no sense in having a vision for growth and expansion if you'd like to be the most popular Italian restaurant in Milton Keynes. On the flip side, you may have a dream of building a regional franchise network of Italian restaurants. Imagine you run a dry cleaning business, and your goal is to retire in 10 years.
Your Brand Vision may look like this and should follow this type of format:
"Vision Statement: Clean Genie's Vision is to be the most profitable independent chain of dry-cleaning stores in Buckinghamshire. We aim to be the brand that the public knows better than any other and that customers choose first because we consistently meet and exceed their expectations, and we do so with personality and style."
Your Vision Statement should remind yourself every day what you are working towards.
The Mission Statement is as important as your Vision Statement. How can you achieve your Vision without an idea of how you'll get there? Well, this is your Mission. You will see an immediate difference in that the Vision is centred around you and what you aim to do, whereas the Mission is centred around your customers and how, by pleasing them, they will facilitate your Vision. Your Mission is your summary roadmap for success, and it looks like this:
"Mission Statement: We will become the most recognised and loved dry-cleaning brand in Buckinghamshire by creating positive and memorable visibility of our brand in all of the locations we serve. Our style will be bright, vibrant, and warm, and we dare to be different in ways that our customers will love. In delivering our service, our customers will find that they get more than expected with us, consistent excellence and value and that this keeps them coming back and also telling their friends and family to do the same."
A mission statement sets out what will have actual value to your customers and enable your business to reach its goals through a growing customer base. Your Mission defines what makes you different in your delivery and the things you will strive for every day. Ultimately, you want your customers to love doing business with you and to tell others because you do it differently, and you do it better.
The final piece of the puzzle with your brand foundations is your set of Brand Values. It helps to go through the process in the order I have set out above. Your values are essentially a list of words, elaborated into broader sentences, that define the spirit and strengths of what you do.
Your brand values list should look something like this:
"Care and Excellence
We care for our customers' garments as though they are priceless, returning them without a crease or a mark, always on time.
We take the time to get to know our customers, provide service with a smile and be enjoyable to do business with.
The little things that matter and make a difference will be prevalent in our service every time."
You want somewhere between 5-10 core values that you run your business by. In clear and simple terms, you have set your brand goal, how you're going to get there, and how you will do things to make it all happen. This should be part of your DNA and, going back to what I said at the very start, should underpin every decision you make and all that you do.
Anyone can run a good business. Running a great business that stands out takes an unwavering commitment to being different in ways that matter to customers and are palpable in their experience.
At TFA, we have an expert marketing team who can look at your business and help uncover your core values and focuses to drive your business forward. For help, get in touch with us today.