content-meetbarryOff the top of your head, what are some of your favorite brands, regardless of product or service?  Take a moment to write a few down and, when you’re done, stop and think about WHY they’re some of your favorite brands.  Do they reflect your personality?  Is there a unique customer experience they provide?  Do they speak to the things that are most important to you?  Think about what each of those brands represents to you- is it value?  Convenience?  Luxury?  Dependability?  Status?

According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” In essence, your brand is the promise you give to your customer that nobody else can- that unique factor or combination of factors that sets you apart from your competition.  It’s the “why” that attracts prospects and clients to you rather than someone else selling a similar service or product.

Think, for example, about buying a car.  Most people don’t pull into the first dealership they see and randomly pick a car just because it has four wheels and can take them from Point A to Point B.  Car buyers have a “why” in mind when heading out to make a purchase.  Some people are looking for luxury when it comes to their next automobile purchase.  What car dealerships do you think these people will visit first?  Most likely a BMW, Mercedes Benz or Lexus dealership- because these brands reflect luxury, wealth and status.  What about the outdoorsy, adventure-seeker looking for fun?  You’ll most likely find them at the Jeep dealership, looking at a 4×4 Wrangler.  How about a family of five looking for safety and dependability at a reasonable price?  Most likely, you’ll find them in the minivan/SUV section of a Dodge, Ford or Chevy dealership checking out the safety features and fuel efficiency of each vehicle.

That, my friends, is the power and importance of knowing your product and/or service’s unique selling proposition and creating a brand to drive customers to you and away from your competition.  Why else would large corporations spend millions and millions of dollars to hire marketing firms to keep their brand relevant and top-of-mind for consumers and pay focus groups to share their opinion on product packaging and messaging?  They’re not doing it to pat themselves on the back for a job well done- they’re doing it to make sure that their promise is understood and the brand is being reflected in every aspect of the product or service, from marketing campaigns to logo colors to social media message delivery. 

Just as it’s important for large corporations to identify and build their brand, it’s important for you as an entrepreneur to do the same, so that you are able to attract customers and distributors away from the competition.  To be successful at network marketing, it’s essential to separate yourself from the rest of the pack- anyone can buy or sell service X or product Y, so why should customers buy from you or prospects join your distribution team over another MLM professional?  Granted, you won’t have the resources of a Nike or Apple to develop a brand and marketing plan, but it’s imperative that you take the time to examine and develop your brand identity so that you’re able to put your resources to best use when building your brand.

As you go about the rest of your week, stop and notice the different brands you come across and take some time to think about what sets that product or service apart from their competitors.  From groceries to gas to clothes or fast food, pay attention to the “why” when you’re choosing one product or service over another.  From there, begin to think about the unique traits and skills that you have which differentiate you from other professionals in your industry. Keep a notebook handy and jot down whatever comes to mind.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be working with you on how to dig deeper and identify the things that make you rare and unique and develop a personal brand around these competitive advantages.  With this information, you’ll be able to better attract prospects and customers and take your business to the next level!

P.S.- Learn to better brand yourself at my Train the Trainer workshop this October.