How many times do you ask someone what they do, and they recite a list of tasks? Like the UPS Store speed dating commercial: “We do printing, packing, faxing, notarizing, shredding…” Note that she does not end up with a date.
And yet, when you provide different services within a business it can be hard to figure out how to explain it. Are you a branded house or a house of brands?
Branded House vs. House of Brands
The “branded house” model is like Google, who has Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Translate. They all carry the Google name and brand even though they are distinct products.
The “house of brands” approach is like InBev, the world’s largest brewer. Their brands include Budweiser, Stella Artois and the Brazilian beer Brahma—each with its own very distinct target market and brand.
How does this apply to you?
As a small business or solo entrepreneur, chances are you may lean toward the “branded house” model—mostly because as a smaller business, you have time and budget for one website, one message, even when you offer multiple services.
The challenge is to find the common thread that permeates all that you do so that your brand is cohesive.
Who You Are vs. How You Help
Take a look at these interviews with Caitlin Kunkel. Caitlin is a comedy writer and satirist. That is the headline. How she applies that varies.
In fact, I ended up dividing her interview into two distinct pieces. The first is about Caitlin the teacher, and how she adapted the satire writing curriculum she created for The Second City to teach a comedy course in Amman, Jordan. She provides the expertise and a formula; the culture informs what’s funny.
The second video is about how Caitlin is a driver in convening the community of satire writers, with a website (The Belladonna Comedy) and Festival (The Satire & Humor Festival) she co-founded.
For Caitlin, she is very clear that she is a comedy writer and satirist. That manifests itself in writing and getting published, producing a festival, building an online comedy site, teaching and a multitude of other ways.
The headline is “who she is.” The specific services are “how she helps.”
How might that distinction change how you present yourself and your work?