Eye On The Pie Branding From an Investors Point of View
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When building a business as a brand it's important to avoid a
myopic view and consider another important aspect of the business
game as well-- investing. After any amount of toil and hard work to
create a valuable product, service or company the big game is when
you go public-- when money-minded people want more, they want a
piece of your brand pie.
For many entrepreneurs who are just starting out or are flying
solo for any amount of years, it's often inconceivable that anyone
would want a piece of their business in the future when they are
struggling to grow now. For those who find themselves in this
implausible thought or for those who believe in the 'brass ring' of
going public there are four things you should consider now
that will enable that kind of big future.
On a recent flight from Los Angeles to Orlando I
experienced a flight of fancy beyond anything I have ever felt
before. When I booked through Delta airlines, I was issued a ticket
on a company I had not heard of before called Song. I thought it
odd but nothing beyond that. That all changed from the moment I got
to the gate.
Waiting for the plane to board, I sensed a light buzz flowing
through people at the gate. They were actually thrilled to be
waiting. I thought that happy gas had been pumped into just this
section because across from us was another group on another airline
waiting to board who were not feeling the same thing. Then the
A male Latin voice came over the intercom and began the boarding
with... a joke-- a different experience. He then went on to
announce the boarding procedure with so much joy that I couldn't
wait to get in line. I wasn't even in a hurry to get on the plane.
When I got to the door, the woman taking my ticket greeted me as if
I arrived at her home for a party-- a very different
I walked on the plane and heard upbeat music, saw the colorful
comfortable seats, and was greeted by fashionably dressed
flight-attendants by the time I sat down, the first thing I said to
Nanci, a perky brunette from Atlanta, was "How can I invest in
Song?" The plane hadn't even taken off yet!
When working with entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, I
often stress the need to create a brand experience for the customer
from every point of contact. Never was this point hit home so
beautifully... and so fun.
Let's breakdown my desire to invest in this company just from
just a single contact in four points of connection we humans can
One, most airlines are scrambling to cover losses and willing to
slash prices to get people flying again-- Delta included. As
they scramble to react, new airlines were capturing market share
with lower price points. With Song, Delta made the decision to
expand rather than dilute Delta's existing brand and value
proposition. They needed to go in another direction and create
something completely different to join the battle. Now I wasn't
here too observe this personally, but it seems to me they responded
like a nimble entrepreneur eyeing a market opportunity, not a giant
digging in. To make big advances, bold steps are
Two, from the very beginning they had me emotionally. From the
moment I was at the gate through when I stepped off the plane they
touched me. I got to choose from a menu of great food and I got to
choose my entertainment-- the music selection was better than a
record store. I felt so good I didn't even think I was in the air.
No emotional detail was spared. They nailed it big time. It was all
planned down to the detail. I wouldn't have been surprised if the
Captain came on and introduced Cirque du Soleil (the famed
performers from Canada) would be performing soon. They had me
from... the joke. Create and experience I'll buy more than a
Three, they were able to make this emotional impact on me
because the airline itself came from a deep place of belief. After
the unfortunate events of September 11th, the airline industry was
reeling. Delta employees knew they had to do something to capture
the hearts of flyers or cutbacks and layoffs were on the horizon.
They believed they had to deliver an exceptional service never
before experienced at a price that the public would pay. No more
doing business as usual, they had to create something that they
personally would want to experience. They took the big business of
flight and made it deeply personal. They were able to get me
emotionally because of their deep belief.
Four, as a smart investor I knew that if Song was able to keep
up this level of experience for their customers in a dependable
fashion that it would indeed become "the airline of choice" for me.
I also knew there are lots of me's in the world. At this rate of
experience, it would be no time at all before they expanded their
routes and create a powerful brand presence in the marketplace.
A smart investor knows to follow their own instincts and invest
in more than just the numbers-- what they experience as valuable--
what they believe in.
And all of this was woven together with the CEO's passion of
music, hence the name. This was by far the best branded experience
I have ever witnessed... no... experienced!
If investors look at businesses from this viewpoint, then
shouldn't you as a business owner do the same?
Whether you are a small business owner or a new entrepreneur
develop your brand by focusing on "experience," doing so will
undoubtedly put your business closer to your customer AND closer to
the investment pie. And you will also enjoy the journey!
Unfortunately, Song is not public... yet. I'm first in line.
About the AuthorKim A. Castle, Co-founder BrandU, Co-Author of Why BrandU: Big Business Success No Matter Your
Size, and BrandU
Bible, the only step-by-step workbook for developing
your business as a brand.
2004 Castle Montone, Limited Reprinted with Permission
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-06-30 00:09:50 in Business Articles