Branding in 2016

New Years is a time of reflection and resolution. It is a time to reflect on what was, both good and bad, as well as a time to make change. Most people’s resolutions are personal in nature: Lose weight, make more money, finally take that dream trip. Or if your resolution is a business one: Make more money, write that book, or perhaps hire a star employee.

However, these aren’t resolutions at all. These are goals. A resolution is a decision to do or not do something, and a goal doesn’t become reality simply by making the decision that you want it.

This isn’t a groundbreaking observation, anyone who has successfully realized a goal knows it takes dedication and focus, not simply desire.

But what do you focus on if you want to make more money in your business, write that business book that catapults you to new heights or finally hire the help you need?

Most resolutions fail because people are scared to accomplish them. It’s not that they can’t, it’s that they are terrified of what it would mean to accomplish them. It takes hard work, sacrifice and a willingness to be different. But I don’t think that is what people are scared of.

People are scared to be different, and it takes being different to have a business and a life of significance. It’s easy to be comfortable, have a job, and exist. It’s not as easy to run a successful business.

It’s not a surprise that most people are scared to be different. In a sense, most of us were schooled to avoid being too different. To avoid being fascinating. In kindergarten we’re taught to stand in line for class, color within the lines, raise your hand and wait your turn. Standing out results in detention.

The problem is the business world (at least today) doesn’t work like that. In today’s world, the one with distracted clients, bigger competitors, and people who are willing to work for less than you, that model is deeply flawed. You can’t win by being invisible. You win by being different, and by being remembered.

Most everyone has a few insecurities about how they are perceived. But why? The standard answer is that we fear looking bad in front of others, or fear making a fool of ourselves.

The real answer? Most people are afraid they have nothing special to give. They think there is nothing unique, different, or valuable about them. You ever hear of children acting out to get attention? That’s because the only thing scarier than getting negative attention is getting no attention at all.

So what does all this have to do with branding anyway?

Branding is about creating a desired perception, and perception is the reality in your customers minds. To create more customers you need more attention, but the attention you drive via your marketing efforts must land upon a well defined, and different brand.

So this year don’t make a resolution to make more money, gain more customers or sell more products. Make your resolution to be different. If you do, the rest will come, and your business will thrive more than a gym in January.

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