© Castle Montone, Limited
The Guiding Light of Business — Branding
Soul and business. Business and ... soul. You don’t often see these two words in the same sentence — especially over the last "make-it-until-you-drop-I don’t care who’s in my way” 60 years.
If you have "it", you understand the concept without skipping a beat.
If you’re looking for "it”, you feel a longing with every step you take in your business — even if it’s just the unspoken tug of unknowing.
If the concept of soul and business in the same breath incites you to... uncomfortable levels... well... that’s a whole different article.
To understand the concept of the soul of business, you have to consider what soul means. The challenge is — it has a different meaning for each individual. The context is flexible. It’s in the beholder.
This is also where the fun and the power of business is... IF you know how to tap into it.
Defining the meaning of soul is like defining the concept of reality — you make it up. The real power resides in your meaning of soul, its application to your business and your unwavering command of that power.
The dictionary defines soul as:
- the complex of human attributes that manifests as consciousness, thought, feeling, and will,
- somebody’s emotional and moral nature,
- the deepest and truest nature of a people or a nation,
- what gives somebody or something a distinctive character
These definitions come close, but lack that mysterious unspoken essence of something that is far bigger. It’s that space that you fill up with... experience.
If you apply this unspoken power to business, both large and small, you will arrive at the very core of what makes a business tick — from why it was created to why it continues to exist.
Unfortunately, the problem is most small entrepreneurial business owners focus their initial business efforts "outside" of their business, on marketing, on sales, on... proof.
Then, if they are able to hold on enough to stay in the game, layer after external layer begins to form which solidify with tactical approaches to continue to market, to sell, to prove.
Eventually, this outer layer becomes heavy and can cause a business to implode if the core of the business isn’t established and maintained. Or it could lose its way altogether if the wrong kind of funding is thrown it’s way.
Remembering the Future™
Over the past eighty years the way business is done has come full circle from the days of yore when you brought your soap from the general store, which was at the front of the grocers house, through the industrial revolution of mass production and distribution, to the return of the human to human connection — through the internet.
Unfortunately the way business has been communicated hasn’t kept up with this change.
The old industrial model of advertising, of "sell the sizzle", or as I refer to it , "chasing the flash", is no longer enough for people.
Consumers have the power of choice and they can feel if there’s "something" behind the flash or... not.
Brand communication, including marketing and advertising, is on the cusp to a whole new way of consumer communication. A communication that has behind it a greater reason — beyond the mo*ney for product exchange. A communication that is fueled by the soul of a business.
The New Biz Buzz Word
If you polled a hundred people 25-55 about what they were missing in their lives and you were able to drill down to the core of their answer they would say, in one form or another, an authentic connection.
Even large brands, like Starbucks, Nike and even Apple, are starting to toss around words like real and authentic.
Howard Schultz, the CEO and mastermind behind Starbucks, one of the most successful and often admired brands today, says, "Our rapid growth has led to the watering down of the Starbucks experience. Our company’s soul is dripping away."
In The New Marketing Marketing Manifesto, author John Grant notes, "Authenticity is the benchmark against which all brands are n*ow judged."
The dictionary defines authentic as:
- genuine and original,
- shown to be true and trustworthy
- not a copy, real
Where does this realness reside? In that mysterious space of the soul.
Your Guiding Light Through the Unknown
As a business owner you no longer have to be at the mercy of the unspoken unknown of what is at the core of your business.
Taking your business idea through a process to define that soul shines a guiding light on everything your business is to be and every step you take to make it so.
This process is creating a brand. Branding, when done right, gives you and your business the soul of your business. Once it’s in place, it never burns out.
For the past several years, I’ve been saying there’s a global return to the soul. It’s never been so true in business today.
As a small business entrepreneur you actually have the edge over b*ig brands on the authentic playing field. You haven’t lost your business soul yet. Then again... you may have not yet connected to it.
The exciting thing is, the process to connect to the soul of your business is now at your fingertips. But first you have to put down the tactics.
You can always pick them back up... later.
This article is part of a continuing series exploring the Soul of Business. Stay tuned for more.
© Castle Montone, Limited
Are you making one of the 15 MISTAKES THAT KILL BUSINESS SUCCESS? Find out at www.15mistakes.com.
Brand Visioneer and BrandU co-founder, Kim Castle teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to turn their business ideas into a moneymaking marketable brand. If you want to experience clarity all the way to the bank™, get your FREE branding tips now at www.whybrandu.com.