by Phil Davis
Branding & Naming Expert President of Tungsten Branding
Defining your pivot point will empower your brand
As an entrepreneur or company owner, distractions abound, sales, cash flow, staffing, HR, marketing, etc. The daily business of conducting business can take over and cloud the very purpose or reason that inspired you to start your company in the first place! Without a guiding light, a central reference point, the company’s direction shifts to chasing opportunities vs. building a powerful, sustainable brand.
The cure? Find your pivot point!
A pivot point is just that – the spot around which everything revolves. In basketball, the player plants one foot and then pivots with the other. It may seem as though the player is constantly moving, shifting, changing — but in reality, he or she is firmly in place. Rather than “traveling” around the court, they can explore different options and opportunities from one vantage point.
So how do you find your pivot point?
1. Your pivot point is your company’s primary area of focus and therefore your brand’s identity. This typically falls in one of two categories…. products/services or attributes/benefits. Before determining your pivot point, ask if you are more product or attribute identified. If you are closely associated with a product, then your company’s fate is tied to that product. As in the desktop computers, hard cover books, DVD players, newspaper stands, roller blades, hover boards, and on and on. Rather than riding the temporary wave of a hot product or service, it is better to identify and pivot around a key attribute or benefit behind the product or service.
2. Once you decide you are not a product, the Radio of Radio Shack, then pick the attribute that best defines you. Are you primarily focused on unparalleled quality? Service extraordinaire? Prices that can’t be beat? The goal here is to pick one if possible and two at the most. The best brands are identified with one main attribute, one pivot point. Wal-Mart promises the lowest prices. Volvo is synonymous with safety. 3M constantly pushes innovation. So what is your pivot point? The more attributes you choose, the more you dim your brand’s brilliance. Pick one and really own it, let it define, drive and inform your decisions.
3. Now that you know your pivot point, the key attribute around which all your goods and services revolve, look at your current business model. Does it align with and reflect that pivot point? What products and offerings support your pivot point, and which ones are a distraction? Create clarity by creating congruency. If you tout quality, don’t have a bargain discount bin or a low price version of your products. If you are customer centric, have real humans answer the phone. If you innovate, what products showcase that ability? By aligning with your core purpose, your ultimate mission, you can expand into new oceans of opportunities. Instead of battling it out in a smaller market segment of products, you can successfully compete in a bigger space of desired outcomes. Apple shifted from chasing incremental increases in computer sales to innovations in digital living. That shift took them from the edge of insolvency to one of the largest market caps in the world, approaching $1 trillion dollars.
Finding your company’s purpose requires a return to your roots — the very motivations that originally inspired you to pursue your present product and service offerings. But those offerings don’t define you, at least they shouldn’t. By identifying and aligning your current and future business model with your core purpose, mission and motivation, you will survive and outperform the cyclical nature of product identified companies that are destined to rise and fall with the tides of popularity. Creating a lasting, enduring company brand means anchoring to a more solid foundation, and that foundation can be found right inside you – built on the very qualities you stand for.