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Your Business DNA Your brand's ability to provide a distinct and consistent experience keeps them coming back.

By Israel Idonije Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Aristotle said, "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom."

A company is a living, breathing body. It grows, changes and responds to a variety of outside factors. Every business, no matter the size, age, or type has a distinctive DNA, the internal genetic code that carries all the information about how the business will look and function.

A clearly articulated DNA is important to a business -- this is not only the services or products you may offer, this is the overarching purpose of what you do to offer a very specialized experience compelling your customers to come back for more and become your brand champions.

Related: It's Not You, It's Your Story: Why Branding Matters

For example, what we do at Athlitacomics, LLC is provide creator-owned and custom comic content and comic properties in the merged niche market of comics and sports. However, Athlitacomics' core purpose is to inspire, unite and entertain the world with incredible art and stories.

As we start off this new year, now is the time for your company to get your employees, culture, and practices aligned to your specific business DNA to set the stage for success in the coming years.

Related: The Secret Ingredients to a Successful Branding Strategy

Here are a few tips for discovering your business DNA:

  • List the core values that guide your behaviors and business processes.
    • What is important? What are your guiding principles?
    • Core values drive all action and give meaning to the intentions behind what your business does.
    • Strong brands have unwavering values.
  • Articulate the Brand Promise you give to your employees and customers.
    • Brand promises cultivate trust.
    • Write a brief, clear statement of the promise(s) you pledge to deliver at every contact point for employees and customers. Be sure brand promises are reflected in company practices and services provided to foster a passionate and motivated company culture.
  • Points of differentiation
    • What is your ownable space? What is exclusive to you? Trade secrets, unique processes or services delivered, recognitions, etc.? What sets you apart?
  • State the perception, both functional and emotional, that you want to take control of in the minds of your customers.
    • You don't need to be prominent and global to own the perception you want to create in your space.
    • You do need to create procedures, expectations, and protocols that equip your employees to deliver the brand DNA you have defined.
  • Show off your brand's unique style.
    • Describe the characteristics and personality of your brand.
    • Brainstorm how your style can be offered as a multisensory— emotional, social, physical, cerebral, or even a spiritual—distinct brand experience.

Related: 4 Branding Lessons That You Don't Want to Learn the Hard Way

You want to be more than just another business; you want a branded image that makes you inspiring, strong and recognizable. Successful marketing will get people to give your brand a chance, but it will not get them to return or to become devoted brand champions. It is only your brand's ability to provide a distinct, consistent and applicable experience that will keep your customers connected and coming back.

Every company needs a solid brand with core principles, however this doesn't happen on its own. It starts with you, the founder of the company. Knowing your business DNA is the beginning of all wisdom.

Israel Idonije

Founder and CEO of ATHLiTACOMiCS

This author is part of a series formed from a partnership between Entrepreneur and NFL Players Inc. Click here to see the other columns.

Israel Idonije, an 11-year NFL veteran, is the founder and CEO of Athlitacomics, one of the first companies to offer a high-level blend of comic content, merchandise and properties that showcase professional athletics and super-heroic mythology. Idonije's entertainment company develops creator-owned and custom, commissioned art and stories to appeal to both sports fans and comic enthusiasts.

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