The Alternative and Brand
I float. I REALLY love to float. For the uninitiated, imagine the pinnacle of relaxation and meditation within a sensory deprivation tank. No lights, no sounds, smells or tactile stimulations. Nothing but you, your thoughts and your beating heart. Naked and exposed. The similarities between this experience and that of starting your own business are not lost on me. Nor is the frustrating realization that an activity I find extremely beneficial to creative health and expansion, is often frowned upon by those who may find the idea of floating too strange or unsettling. Too weird and “new age.” Too… alternative.
But let me ask you this: From floating to reflexology; acupuncture to hypnotherapy and everything in between, Why do alternative health solutions have to be alternative at all? Government regulations and accreditations aside, the reason is quite simply that of public misconception that holistic medicine is somehow secondary to those treatments found in larger hospitals or medical centres when battling pain, illness, suffering, or when simply looking to improve your overall wellbeing.
Sure, one might say that alternative in this sense applies only to the notion of non-traditional (meaning that traditional medicine has been the primary acceptable form of treatment for a longer duration), but I’d wager that even these devil’s advocates would fall short of arguing that practices born in the Americas predate those of Eastern thought.
Perception then, becomes the culprit. Or, in the world of marketing, these intangibles of audience perception are collectively known as brand. Pardon the pun, but simply put, alternative, holistic medicine suffers from an ailment known as chronic brand disconnect.
But fear not, alternative medicine practitioners (and frankly any business owner who faces the stigma of “alternative” solutions provider) – your condition isn’t terminal… but this doesn’t mean that you can just shrug it off either. Brand is not a do or do not proposition. Everyone has one.
So what is brand and why does it matter?
- Brand is intangible. It is the collection of thoughts and feelings that a person or audience holds for you, your product or service, and even your industry. Brands exist everywhere and everywhen an emotional connection is made.
- Brands exist in the hearts and minds of your audience. Your brand doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to them. The most you can do is be true to yourself, find an audience that cares, and speak directly to them.
- Brand is a perception, a simple promise and an expectation. What do people think of you? What are you promising to them, and can you deliver on your promise – every time?
- Branding is the art of differentiation, authenticity, consistency and communication. What REALLY sets you apart from everyone else? What are you known for, and what can you be known for?
- Successful brands have a simple, narrow focus. You can’t be something to everyone… but you can be everything to someone.
- Brand is competitive advantage. Mattering matters. Why? Because an authentic and easily identifiable, relevant, well-communicated and consistent brand image increases awareness, recognition and retention. Brand builds a community of like-minded people – offering a sense of belonging, identification and most importantly, loyalty.
- While marketing is the act of getting new customers, branding is the art of keeping them.
Brand is your beating heart and your core reason for being. It evokes an emotional response that translates to desire for your goods and services. For this reason, it’s equally important to remember that your goods and services are NOT your brand. They are not the essence of you, in much the same way that logos and taglines are not you. These are your commodities and the reason your doors may stay open, but they’re not the reason people will come to you for help in the first place… and keep coming back.
But why do you matter… and why should anyone care?
Why can’t your audience live without you? The difference between first and second choice is realizing your authentic brand, knowing your audience and how to communicate with them, and reflecting this through relevant, effective, mind and business-expanding marketing.
Why settle for anything less? Contact us to start your brand treatment today! And, while expanding your business, why not try expanding your mind too… Check this out! http://floathouse.ca/introduction-to-floating/