Is your business identity crystal clear? Is your personal brand promise defined?
In his new book, The Risk Advantage, entrepreneur Tom Panaggio shows how you must embrace risk if you want to capture opportunity. Unfortunately, psychologists have shown that most people fear loss far more than they desire gain, and thus make illogical decisions when it comes to their business and careers.
The most interesting insights in the book come towards the end as Tom shares how he gained an edge by carefully crafting the positioning for his own company. In this age where everyone is time-starved and info-overloaded, the idea of crafting a value-message that pierces through the clutter is very powerful. Tom describes a four-step process for gaining this insight.
First, you must specialize in something, you must be known for something specific. This means you must avoid the temptation to accommodate everyone, or to chase a large market. At the most basic level, Tom’s company was a direct mail company, and there are thousands of mail houses out there. In order to specialize, Tom decided that his company would focus on just one industry, financial services.
Second, understand and identify your true value; answer the question, “Who are we?” When Tom and his team focused on that question, they realized that what they really did—even though they were a “mail house”—was they made their customer’s marketing seminars successful. Their financial service industry clients use public educational seminars as a way to generate leads for their advisors, and Tom’s mailing services were designed to make those seminars successful.
Third, grab the name of your ultimate value proposition. Tom’s company already had the generic name, Response Mail Express, when they identified their true specialization. So instead of changing the name of the company, they invented the product name “Seminar Success.” Not only did this make crystal clear what they were truly selling, but they did what I call “productize the service.” They were a mail house that provided a service. They weren’t manufacturing and selling widgets. Yet to simplify and clarify their service value they gave it a product name.
Fourth, come up with a one-sentence pitch. You want to your prospects to be crystal clear on what you are offering. Tom’s value proposition was the unambiguous, “Generate 150 – 250 qualified prospects from 5,000 pieces of mail.”
While other generic “mail houses” competed against each other on price, Tom’s company used their clearly defined value proposition and simple one-sentence promise to line up clients quickly and profitably.
Understanding and communicating a clear concise identity and value proposition is critical to any business today. It can also be a thought provoking exercise to perform on your personal brand.
What value are you truly delivering to your boss and to your company?