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Brand Lo-o-o-o-o-ve...

So... how have you been building your brand lately?

Now, I'm writing this in my best Barry White voice... "How's your Brand Lo-o-o-o-o-ve, baby?"

It may sound obvious, but increase Brand Love by branding better.

Branding your business better will help you increase awareness, attractiveness, and affection of your prospects (so they become customers), current customers (some people call them clients), and employees (yup, they need to be sold on you, too).

"Huh? I've heard of brand awareness, and brand attractiveness I understand, but affection? Brand Love? Is this guy smoking banana peels?"

OK, I admit, that term may be hard to take-- at first. But, haven't you expressed to someone that you love something? "I love that soda." "I love their pizza." "I love that store."

See? You've been enamored with a brand before. And there's a very good chance you still are. So are other people.

Why would you say you "love" soda, pizza, or a store? Because an important nerve of yours has been hit. Some might call it "the Sweet Spot." And it may not be all that obvious what that Sweet Spot is.

A soda tastes best to you over all others by iteself. Or it may go better with certain types of food you enjoy. Perhaps your favorite pizza place makes the best tasting pizza. Maybe you enjoy the surroundings and atmosphere as much as the food.

When you think about your favorite shop, maybe you think they always have just what you really want. Maybe you get treated like royalty. Or you feel good you can afford what they have, or because you can get a lot without spending much.

Thankfully, somebody has probably said, "I love that..." about your business. If they haven't, you probably haven't been open very long-- or will be open for much longer. Think of the last referral that came in. They probably did so because someone had high praise for you.

Now... the trick is to find out what was so praiseworthy, and effectively comunicate it to similar prospects.

How to do it? Just ask for feedback.

Talk to your clients/customers about their experiences. Usually, they will have good things to say. Or at least they may buffet some less-than-glowing reviews with some good stuff. Speaking of "less than glowing," when asking for feedback, be prepared for "warts and all."

In fact, ask for it.

When it's really bad, you'll hear it right away. But when there are minor slip-ups, or things your business may NOT be doing, those can easily fall through the cracks. Always stress you want candid, HONEST answers. If you're not willing to search out the "bad stuff," it will only get worse, and small problems can grow exponentially.

Or somebody realizes how you're underserving the market and takes advantage before you do.

So, ask your clients questions casually. Or even print up 100 or so quick response cards with three to five questions. With only a couple of well-worded questions and space for their own additional thoughts, you may not only get good feedback, you might gain insight about your market, operation, or clientele that takes business to the next level.

Watch for more from me on this topic.

John is a freelance commercial writer based in Omaha, Nebraska. He publishes a free monthly e-zine focusing on branding, advertising, and marketing from his website http://www.brandedbetter.com. Speaking with both agency and in-house experience, he knows the most valuable asset of a business is its brand.

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