FocalPoint Business Coaching Challenge of the Week: How to Help a Coaching Client To Define Their Brand

FocalPoint announced the opening of the new Corporate Coaching Branch in August. One of the main goals of a corporate business coach is to look at the corporate-level strategy.

Essentially corporate level strategy is about managing the portfolio of businesses to produce maximum results.

This week’s FocalPoint Business Coaching Challenge is:

“How do I help business coaching clients to define their brand?”

Brand is such an important aspect of running a business, like a mission statement it is what you can always go back to to clarify, to define and even to solve problems – if it doesn’t fit with the brand, then it shouldn’t be part of the business.

Leading the challenge today is FocalPoint Business Coaching Professional Larry Foster.

Larry is a West Point graduate with a combined total of 25 years service to his country as an Active Duty and Reserve Officer. With an MBA from St Johns University, Larry has held a number of Finance and Operations Management positions in a variety of Fortune 500 companies.

Larry joined FocalPoint International in 2006 and is the Area Developer for the State of Colorado. Larry and his wife live outside of Boulder, CO.

Here is his response to the question: “How I help my clients define their brand.”

“I challenge my clients to put into a single sentence or single phrase what it is that’s unique about them and their business – who they are and what do they do, and maybe even why they do it. The phrase should be memorable (maybe even a little audacious), concise and repeatable.

“The objective is to tie this phrase so closely to the client and their business that every time someone thinks about this unique offering or quality, that client and their business pop into mind.

“For example, I was working with a software company that produced educational software. Now, there must be hundreds of educational software offerings out there, so they chose to emphasize what was unique about their product.

“The phrase they chose, to really reflect the essence of what they do was, “Our software motivates middle school minority students to pursue an exciting future career in Math and Science.” This is much stronger and much more memorable than just saying “We provide world-class educational software.” It really set them apart from their competitors.

Thanks Larry, exactly what we want to see.”

Now let’s see how the rest of the group works – how do you help your client develop brand? What are the essential steps to solidifying the brand from the inside out?

Post your comments below – I look forward to reading them.

Comments

People often think of a brand

People often think of a brand as a logo or memorable symbol or phrase that is associated with the company.  While that association is valid, the underlying message of what the company stands for is really what the brand represents. 

I have a client who is in the business of supplying specialized industrial fluids to a variety of manufacturing clients.  While what they sell is very much a product, what sets them apart from their competition is the service and services they provide.  They have been quite successful, but have engaged me with the FocalPoint Business Coaching program to help them grow faster and get the recognition they deserve in the industry and marketplace.  One of the principals stated early on, “Our only real issue is that outside of our current customers, nobody really knows who we are”.  When I pressed the partners to tell me just that that - who they were – they had a tough time putting it into words.

We began as most coaching engagements do, getting clarity around their business, their customers and their competitors.  We did a preliminary SWOT analysis in order to really crystallize in their minds what their strengths are and what opportunities are available to them.  At the same time, we were sure to recognize the weaknesses they have that need addressing and the threats that are outside of their immediate control but are lurking out there in the marketplace.

We then spent a fair bit of time focused on values, mission and vision.   Coming up with a mission statement that was both concise and representative of their true values and what their company means to them and their customers went a long way to developing the brand that they are trying to establish and get wide recognition for in their industry.  A lot of time and soul searching went into coming up with just the right 26 words.

The next phase of our work is to now be sure that everyone in the company shares the same vision of the company, what they represent and where they are going.  This vision of the company will become synonymous with who they are and the brand they represent. 

Bill Banner

Certified FocalPoint Business Coach

Hamilton, Ontario

www.billbanner.ca

What is a brand? YOUR brand

What is a brand?

YOUR brand as a business is the perception of the general market about your business and service.  The big companies spend millions of dollars to define their "brand"; in essence they seek to define how they want the market to perceive them.  Smaller businesses do not have access to the same scope of resources, certainly not by a large margin.  How then do smaller companies brand themselves?  How do these companies portray themselves as unique? How can they build the desired perception in the market?

Developing brand is a process.  For a small company, brand is best achieved through integrity and consistency of the actions of the company and the values they talk about.  I work with clients to establish clarity around the values, beliefs and principles for the owner and the business.  Any business will become a reflection of the the owners; their demonstrated behaviour will be followed throughout the organization.  This can be a double-edged sword as positive, developmental actions and processes will result in better service internally and externally and serve to build strong branding.  Whereas activity like blaming, excuses, negativity, defensiveness, will undermine the integrity and branding to the owner's, and subsequently company, values. 

Thus, I work to have the owner / manager understand their personal values and translate that to the expectations of the organization. ONce these values are understood, the standards and procedures consistent with them can be implemented. A regular assessment process of actions and practices against these standards and values provides a course-correction to ensure integrity and correspondingly branding. 

The branding that ensues form the company values, beliefs, standards and actions is tied into every interaction with the customers, clients and potential clients. The marketing paradigm is built to be a reference to the values and the unique aspect that the company is and becomes.  

 

Mark Lindsay

Certified Business and Leadership Coach 

Focal Point Coaching - Edmonton  www.marklindsay.net

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