You may think you do, but you don't.
Once you realise this you begin to understand that all your efforts, energy and money are doing is shaping other people's perception of your business.
This perception. How other people see you, think of you and remember you... THIS is what your brand actually is.
Your brand is now an idea, an emotion and a feeling that is trapped in the heads of your customers.
You can influence it, but you're never fully in control.
Think of it like a rider on a horse. You can whip it, shout at it and pull the reigns to steer. Very often the horse will react to your commands and change speed or direction... But to think you are in charge is delusional.
The horse can choose to override you any time it wants to. Then you're either left sat on your arse wondering what happened or being dragged off in the wrong direction.
So, what does this actually mean?
Well, it means that you have to start seeing your brand as a mission or a cause. One that you are part of, but never in full control.
Imagine that you're in charge of an army that could revolt at any time. You must work hard to win over the troops, keep them happy and show them that the cause you are fighting is a worthy one for THEM and for you.
Honesty, integrity, clarity and passion are everything. People want to belong to something bigger than themselves so you must make them believe this.
Show them that you're here for the long term. Show them that you have THEIR interests and THEIR success at heart.
Do this by being consistent. Do this by living the brand values that you talk about.... And if you don't have any brand values, then it's time to MAKE SOME.
Be bold and take risks. Do what your competition isn't willing to do. Engage with your audience whether they may buy from you or not.
Every single point of contact your customer has with you shapes the way that they will think of your brand in the future. This is how they'll remember you and talk about you.
Word of mouth is immensely powerful, so give those mouths the right words to use.
Your biggest problem right now is that nobody knows you and nobody cares about you.
So show you give a shit about them, their fight, their lives and their struggles.
See them as allies, soldiers and brothers in arms.
When you see them this way, you'll treat them this way...
Then just watch how they treat you back!