Women, Spirit & Money: Does Your Business Brand Help You Reap What You Sow?

Columnist Sherri L. McLendon Offers 7 Examples and 32 Telltale Signs that Your Existing Branding Won’t Earn the Recognition You and Your Mission-led Business Deserve – and Shares Where to Fix Your Focus.

Sherri L. McLendon

Sherri L. McLendon

Women in business talk a lot about branding. Many of us brand our businesses, invest in our personal brand, or change up our brand’s niche. There are times, however, when repositioning our brands in the marketplace, or reniching our services or offers, simply won’t get the job done. How does a woman entrepreneur know when it’s time to reap the reward of sowing the seeds of a new brand?

To help you decide, I’ve identified 32 telltale signs that repositioning your existing brand won’t earn the recognition you and your mission-led business deserve. Use the information below to consider the vitality of your brand identity. Use the examples and questions as a True/False self-assessment to see if a re-branding may be in your best interests.

Example 1: “Joan’s Pool Hall” – Joan doesn’t own a billiards parlor, and you might guess she sells pool and spa supplies. But unless you know her, can you tell from her business name that she specializes in designing authentic Swedish saunas and hottubs?

_____1. My business name leads people in the wrong direction, or leads them nowhere.
_____2. I often have to explain what I do to potential clients.
_____3. I often have to explain what I do to my team or supporters.
_____4. My business niche statement is overly broad.
_____5. My business niche statement inaccurately represents what business I’m in.
_____6. My company is often confused with something or someone else.
_____7. I frequently stop conversations to correct misperceptions about what I really do.

If you answered true to 4 or more of these questions, then it’s likely your brand does not adequately convey the business you’re really in.

Focus Fix: You’ll want to drill down to the essentials, and consider your deliverables before rebranding.

Example 2: “Vibrance Life Ways” – Ann likes the energy of the word “vibrance,” and she offers a range of products and modalities. She has a list of all 10 of those on her business card, and she has trouble focusing her marketing. Are you making the same mistake?

_____ 8. I do not have a core program, signature system, or offer for which I’m known.
_____ 9. I spend effort and money attempting to show potential clients I do “more than that.”
_____ 10. Sometimes, my team or I feels we’re apologizing for the name of the business.
_____ 11. The business name places emphasis on only one aspect of what I really do.

If you answered true to 2 or more of these questions, then it’s likely you need to develop a brandable signature system.

Focus Fix: Demonstrate to clients how the things you do relate to one another meaningfully through your brand identity.

Example 3: “Jane’s Professional Services” – Jane is a business bookkeeper. But her branding is overly broad, and not easily understood. If using a search engine, you’d likely return a range of similar results, with few or none leading to Jane or to bookkeeping. Worse, “Jane’s Professional Escort Services” operates out of offices in the same neighborhood. You wouldn’t believe some of the calls she gets.

_____ 12. My business shares, at least in part, a competitor’s business name?
_____ 13. My business name inaccurately describes what I do.
_____14. My business name does not accurately differentiate my work from that of others.
_____15. My business name does not showcase my professional presence, value and worth.
_____ 16. My brand identity does not set me apart from the competition.

If you answered true to 3 or more of these questions, chances are your brand is confused with others’ brands. You’ll want to focus on what makes you different from others in the same field of influence.

Example 4: “West Asheville Building Supply” – Susan spent years becoming a master carpenter and recently opened a professional building supply store catering to custom woodworkers as a nexus for exotic woods sought the world over. Yet, she only gets neighborhood inquiries about small building and supply jobs. Are you doing what she’s doing?

_____ 17. My business name limits who I can serve geographically.
_____18. My business name does not foster future growth into new markets or online.

If you answered true to either of these questions, consider where you want your business to be in five years.

Focus Fix: You may wish to develop a five-year plan and decide whether your goals are feasible given your current brand identity and positioning.

Example 5: “Monica’s Cigar Shop” – Enough said. It doesn’t matter if the shop is named for your suffragette grandmother who wore pants and smoked as a symbol of women’s liberation. Think about it:

_____ 19. My business name has been associated with a negative subject or has gained unwelcome notoriety for some reason.
_____ 20. I sometimes find myself defending the name of my business.
_____ 21. I hope the unwelcome attention my business name attracts will “blow over.”
_____22. Too many shut doors make me think a fresh start could be a good thing.

If you answered true to 2 or more of these questions, you may wish to consider if the negative connotation of your business name is something that will be costly to overcome.

Focus Fix: Revisit the naming process. Launch a campaign to turn the renaming into a promotion for the new brand.

Example 6: Kay’s Keyboard Konnection – Kay specializes in reliable data: its entry, coding, and interpretation. Not only is this name too literal, it doesn’t reflect her work, and the use of the alliterative ‘k’ definitely does not convey the quality or type of her work. (It also results in a distressing acronym, see example 5.) When it comes to your own business, consider if

_____ 23. My business name may be too literal.
_____ 24. My work is not accurately defined by my business name.
_____ 25. My work is not accurately described by my brand identity.
_____ 26. My brand name does not convey the quality of how I do what I do.
_____ 27. My brand name sounds more like a description than a company name.

If you answered true to 3 or more of these questions, then your business/brand name is likely too literal – and will get lost in a sea of generalities. “Reliable Data Consulting” would be a better choice for Kay.

Focus Fix: Work with a pro to find a brand name which conveys the quality of your offers or services.

Example 7: “Amelia’s Authentic Business Coaching” – Amelia has spent tens of thousands of dollars breaking into the exciting world of business coaching. She has also spent thousands of dollars on other people’s programs and licenses, selling those out of the box options to her clients. She’s so busy gathering qualifications, her business model is lopsided, offering a menu of other coaches’ programs and services, but little of her own work.

_____ 28. I do one thing that is so well known that it overshadows my business identity.
_____ 29. Sometimes, my program or venture partners try to change the terms of our agreements because they want a bigger share of something.
_____ 30. If my partner pulls their program, license, or services, I will lose clients to a competitor.
_____31. My long term business strategy includes increased investment into an existing service, program or offer.
_____ 32. I do not plan to create new programs, services or offers to enhance my long term plan.

If you answered true to 3 or more of these questions, then your brand equity is probably suffering. That is, your business may be too reliant on someone else’s product or service.

Focus Fix: Learn to develop and leverage your own program, services or offers. That’s what I learned, and you can do it, too.

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., is a recognized feminine business leader with Professional Moneta International, www.professionalmoneta.com, offering marketing public relations strategy and content solutions to exceptional executives and entrepreneurs with a mission and a message.

This entry was posted in April 2015 and tagged minding her own business, women spirit and money. Bookmark the permalink.

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