What’s the big idea?

The Big Idea is the core of the brandIf you’re building a brand, that’s the first question to ask. What is it that sets your business/product/service apart from your competitors?

If you can define a unique idea and you can build a viable business delivering on it, you won’t have any trouble branding it. The idea will be the brand.

That’s what sets Target apart from Kmart, Wal-Mart and all the other discounters in America. Target found an idea: good design. No one else was delivering it, much less claiming it. Today, good design is an attribute the American market is both aware of and appreciative of thanks to Target to a great extent.

I’m always concerned when a smaller company, usually a service provider like a mortgage broker or a chiropractor, can’t see anyway they’re different from their competitor.

I tell them the story of a Colorado chiropractor who’s also a mountain climber. Because he’s so devoted to climbing, he meets lots of other climbers. They become his patients and they tell other outdoors people of this guy who knows all about climbing and hiking injuries – and he speaks their language. He attends their get-togethers. He gets quoted in their newsletter. He has a loyal following of passion-sharing clientele and he makes a darn good living helping his friends.

His big idea: turn my passion into an on-going source of business with people I know and relate to.

I can hear the “yah, buts” from here. “Yah but people don’t buy a house from me just because we both kayak”.  “Yah but people expect all bankers to be pretty serious dudes. After all, we’re stewards of their money.” “Yah but legal and professional codes won’t let me really brand my practice.”

I say bull.

You can, through your own uniqueness, find a big idea you can call your own. And what’s more, it’ll be an idea people will warm to.

Spend some time. Ask others some questions. Get a group together to brainstorm for uniqueness within your business and within your own set of characteristics, talents, passions and proclivities.

Another way of saying this: do an inventory of your assets.

Go for it.

Martin Jelsema

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