The Difference Between A Hustle And a Business? Branding

Lucid Leadership by Rowan B. Colver

A lot of people talk about the side-hustle as if it’s a good thing. Hustle to me suggests amateurism and a lottery-style approach to making money. It also suggests to me that the individual doesn’t really want to build relationships or solve problems, they just want to make a bit of cash doing whatever they can manage or by enjoying their hobbies. These types of business people are usually on the take and are extremely reluctant to become part of the financial network. Business to business sales is an essential part of making your service count and amateurs see all other businesses as competitors to be used, conned, and made to look foolish. No matter how you perceive the word hustle, we can all agree that business is more than just getting a sale or two. In order to exist in the world and be seen as an integral part of people’s lives, you need to establish a place in the ecosystem of the marketplace. You need to become associated with your service and become recognisable among the crowd. Most importantly you need to be considered a safe option.

Ultimately the goal of a business is to be seen as the first choice. Customers can choose to substitute their first choice if they don’t like the price, if someone is rude to them, if they’re misled, or if they simply don’t like the way the product is framed or decorated. We can all agree that Heinz Beans are a first choice brand. Their products are slightly more in price but still affordable. Their sizes are regular and the packaging is recognisable. If any of these things changed, people might be more prepared to choose a second choice brand or even get the cheapest tin. A good branding campaign needs to replicate this kind of customer experience. How can we do this? We probably don’t have a Heinz budget but we do know the finer points of what matters to customers when looking for brands.

Competition does matter. In order to work around the fact that other people also have families to feed and by taking a spot on the floor we are taking food out of their mouths, we have to attempt to create a unique service or product that does not directly tread on other people’s toes. Competitors can be a liability. Not everyone is like you, some people are self-absorbed, cruel, and unkind. They have no problem giving you grief and putting you through hell just so they can feel better about themselves. Other competitors are down to earth and kind, and these people will want to cooperate in order to maximise potential across the shared sector. These are the people you need to be around and the kind of person you need to be. Safety is the keyword, once again. People need to feel safe and if they see you treating people badly or if they see you being treated badly, they won’t feel safe and they won’t spend their money with you. When you do get problems from competitors or people who want to see themselves as your competitor even if they have nothing to do with your sector (most fall into this group) then you have to let it bounce off. Try to imagine that every time someone is mean it’s because they think you’re strong. Show them how strong you are by not rising to the animal challenge and reacting in a human and intelligent way.

We can reduce the risk of having to deal with competitors by being on the lookout for unique options in our products and services. The more unique we can make our brand then the less chance we have to directly compete with others. Even if we market for a different fashion with the same basic product, we can show that we are considering the wider picture. Technology allows us to deliver services in ever-changing ways. With internet technology allowing us to provide unlimited copies of text, video, and sound without printing, we can reach vast numbers of people for a very low cost. We can use this technology to deliver our brand message in unique and interesting ways that make people pay attention.

Branding allows customers to identify your product from the other side of the room. A logo and colour scheme is essential however we need to reach deeper than this. We need to be associated with positivity and trust. People need to feel comfortable with us as the authority in our venue and be willing to accept our messages as valid and true. If customers associate us with positive things then they will be more open to purchasing from us. So by acting in responsible and considered ways and by showing that we can be trusted, customers quickly learn to spot our logo and to immediately think good things about it.



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Rowan Blair Colver

Music writer and humanities educator from Sheffield in England. Democracy of philosophy, comments are welcome.