What do you want to be known for?

By: Fiona Humberstone

Date: 28 July 2011

This is a really basic branding question, but one that’s much harder to answer the more you think about it. It’s a question that’s both blindingly obvious and unerringly impossible in one. So, make yourself a cup of tea, and go on, grab one of those biscuits that’s winking at you, and settle yourself down for just five minutes to focus.

At a very basic level you want to be known for your widget/widget service. But you know me, I’m not going to let you get away with that sort of a cop-out am I?

So you’re a lifestyle photographer? You want to be known for lifestyle photography? Not good enough! What’s your style? What makes you so different from the thousands of other lifestyle photographers out there? What’s your dream project? Your dream client? Your dream location?

Be specific

That doesn’t mean that you plaster your website with phrases like “I love to photograph dysfunctional families with at least two Persian cats” (unless of course you want to). I don’t mean being so specific that you exclude everyone but your dream client. But you can talk about your style. You can edit your portfolio to show only the work that you’re really, overwhelmingly proud of. The type of work you want to win more of.

And this example works across online shops (drop product lines that don’t fit with your brand) as well as professional services and business to business.

Just spend five minutes with your notebook and your pad of paper asking yourself these basic questions. And then spend a week or so just mulling over your answers – tweaking where necessary.

What makes your business unique?

What are you best at? What do you offer that your competitors don’t? What are they offering that’s better than you? What do you want to be known for?

Powerful brands are bold enough to be focused. They know what they’re best at, where their niche is and what they want to be known for. And truly powerful, innovative brands don’t just do this when they have their logo redesigned, they ask themselves this question at least once every six months. Why? Because markets move on, customer needs change and competitors change their tack.

So, take just five minutes out to be sure that your niche in the market is robust. Think about what you want to be known for and how effectively you’re communicating that – in sales meetings, on your website and via your marketing literature and proposals.

Fiona Humberstone is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and runs her own creative consultancy.

Read about some successful small businesses that operate in niche markets