How is your blacksmith shop different?

250pxhorseshoe_1 I want to share one of my favorite analogies with you because it’s impossible  not to get it.  And it’s a branding basic.

In the good old days, if your horse needed a new shoe and I owned the blacksmith shop, you came to me.  Not because I put a coupon in the local paper or because I was your sister’s husband.  But  because I was the only option.  One town.  One blacksmith.

Ah, if only it was that easy today, my friends.  But now, on every street, in every town, no matter what you do…you have competitors.  Lots of them. 

Let’s go back to my example and fast forward to today.  If you needed a shoe for your horse, you’d have lots of choices.  All in the same town.  Some on the very same street.  So how do you decide?

As the shopkeeper, I have two choices, in terms of trying to get you to choose my shop.  I can either differentiate myself (translation — brand) so that you can tell how doing business with me would be a unique experience or I can be the cheapest.  That’s it.  I have to give you a reason to choose my shop. I have to clearly (and repeatedly) tell you why we’re a great match.  Especially if I am not the cheapest. 

Having a good product or offering good customer service is not a brand.  You have to have/create a personality.  You have to create a bevy of loyalists who are going to not only choose you but they’re going to sing your praises to everyone they know.  That’s the power of branding.  You can create a fan club.  In her blog Flooring the Consumer, C.B. Whittemore talks about creating a customer experience that allows you to romance your customers until they fall in love.

So…are you the cheapest or is your blacksmith shop different?  Can you describe that difference?

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