Your Business Minute 2 — How to Stand Out from Your Competitors

What’s one of the first questions that people ask you about your business? Your answer establishes your brand.

What will customers see and hear about you when they search online for the products and services they want today? How your business looks, sounds and comes across on the web defines your brand.

Or, as Mike Dektas, CEO and president of The Creative Storm, says, today’s customers are smart and they look around for businesses that will meet their immediate needs. That they’ve bought from you before does not mean they will buy from you again.

You must be clear and quickly help customers understand which of their problems you will solve today.

Better yet, how will you help them right now?

“What the benefit is to them is how you sell your brand to make it different — not telling how your brand is really great.” 

That's Mike Dektas again, talking about toning down the sales pitch in favor of providing answers. With three decades as a marketing and advertising executive, Dektas will tell you that,  yes, a visually attractive logo and color palette are important to establishing your business brand. So is having a catchy slogan along with a consistent design for your sales sheets, brochures, direct mail pieces and for your website and email, too.

To create these assets, however, you will first need to define your brand and that has less to do with how your sales sheets and website look and everything to do with how well they explain what you can do — right now — for customers.

Customers don’t want to hear your sales pitch

That’s not your brand, unless you want to be known for being annoying. They have no time to listen to or read your claims of being the best in your field, having the biggest inventory or the most experienced staff. All of these may be true but they not your brand, either.

All customers know is they have problem they’re trying to solve and they are seeking someone to do that, Dektas points out.

You will establish your brand by showing how your products and services work, and how what you provided solved similar problems for other customers. Your brand will become clear when customers find you ranked high in search results. They will see what you can do for them when your website is quickly navigated, can be read easily on their smartphones, and contains clear calls to action.

That is, simply, what do you want them to do next?

Critical Questions You Must Answer

Here’s the first three questions to ask yourself in search of your brand’s identity.

Why am I in business?

Your answer reveals your motivation, your strengths and expertise — what you’re good at.

Who do you want to do business with?

Your answer describes your ideal customer, your location compared to theirs, the kinds of problems you are prepared to solve.

What’s unique, special or different about what you sell?

Your answer starts down the path toward the information customers really want. Skip the adjectives (Best, newest, cutting-edge). Instead describe features, functions, services and outcomes in specific terms. Exactly what do you do and how does it work?

Your answer creates the outline of what you want customers to know about your business. And what they know becomes your brand.

What's Worked for You?

Tell us how you define your brand, what steps you followed to identify it, how you explain it to customers, and how you the image and message for your business clear and easy to understand.