I stopped at a small, off-the-path restaurant and got a wrap for lunch the other day. The server handed it to me in a somewhat typical clear plastic container. Except that the top of the container was covered with the name and logo of the restaurant.
“That’s cool,” I thought, “but I bet they paid quite a bit extra for that branding.”
I hadn’t finished my lunch, so I brought it into a meeting I had. After the meeting, someone noticed my leftovers and said, “oh, is that the place over on . . .” “Yes,” I responded. We discussed the place (she’d never been there), I gave it a good recommendation, and she plans to check it out.
Had the restaurant chosen the cheap Styrofoam containers, and not put their name and logo on their take-out food, that conversation never would have occurred.
Who knows how many new customers their branding brings in. Or how many people see the containers and are reminded of the out-of-the-way eatery. Or how many people stop in after driving by because they remember that a friend had take-out food from there once.
This small out-of-the way sandwich place (I’ve often wondered how they stay in business), has good food, and good branding. And it works.
So much for my theory that their branding costs them money . . .
There’s a crucial lesson here for your home business.
It feels like everyone is online these days. Your home business has lots of competition.
Chances are, you are not the McDonald’s of your niche. So you need good products/services and good online branding.
More and more, I see an inferior product outdoing its competition simply because it has superior online branding.
Yet, the number one concern of most home business owners I work with is that they create and provide the best product out there.
While this is a noble goal, you can’t spend 90% of your time on product creation and 10% on your online branding. Reversing those numbers would serve you better.
“So,” you may be thinking, “sounds great, but I don’t know how to effectively do online branding in my home business.”
Let me share another story with you about online branding.
I’ve worked out with the same aerobics teacher for at least 12 years. New people often follow my feet because I know what I’m doing.
But it’s hard for me to keep track of these people. They’re looking at me, but I’m not looking at them.
I hate to be rude and not speak to people I should know. But I admit that often one of them will strike up a conversation with me about our class and I’ll swear I’ve never seen them before.
The exception is one girl. I can always identify her. And I always remember her. Because she wears colorful knee-high socks to class every day.
Everyone else is in their cute little aerobic-wear, but she looks different. She stands out. And I notice.
There’s a lot to be learned from this when it comes to your online branding.
Think about how you stand out in your home business. How are you different from the competition? What makes you unique?
And don’t say you’re not. You are. Only you are you (obviously, huh?), which means you have a unique hook that no one else has.
It may be a story, a look, a tagline, a product or service.
Stop trying to be like everyone else in your market. Figure out how you’re different. Embrace it. Put it out there. Use it to make a million dollars.
And let me know how it goes for you!