The other day I was at a networking meeting with about 30 entrepreneurs and our guest speaker was a “marketing” person who spent about 30 minutes telling us about how much of an expert they were. Then they handed out their brochure. There were obvious misspellings, no white space, and no graphics. It looked like it had been put together by a third grader. Their business cards were obviously made on a home computer as well as their website. All of this left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a lump in my stomach. I was sorely disappointed, and even though I liked the person, I decided I wouldn’t be doing business with them because this person was so obviously not the expert they said they were.
Have you experienced this too? Perhaps it was you? There was a time when that person was me. But I’ve realized that if I’m going to be in business, I’ve got to do it right because everything I do and say, communicate the truth about my brand to my prospects and customers, and the saying is really true; “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.”
Branding is all about your first impressions and is experienced by all five of our senses! It’s about the story that invokes feelings of hope, the image that excites our imagination, the sound that leaves us asking for more, and even the textural feeling of the quality of your workmanship.
Bust mostly, in order for a brand to work, it’s got to touch our heart, mind and soul. You’ve got to show customers that you’re different, that you care about them!
Here are some things that speak loud and clear to your customers about how much you care.
- Logo and Graphics, quality, homemade, or professional.
- Web and Blog Design
- Business cards, brochures.
- You, your environment, your employees, the service they provide, the way that they look and speak.
- The message and the meaning.
- The smell, and the flavor of your brand, product and experience.
- Your authenticity
If you want to create buzz for your business, all of these areas have to be in alignment! You can’t say one thing, and then be, do, look, and act another. People will do business with you because they like you one time, but if you aren’t everything you promise, chances are highly likely that they won’t come back!
So what do you do? Poll some of your clients or friends about their perceptions regarding your business and brand. Ask questions like:
- What is the best experience you’ve had while working with me?
- Is there an experience that could have been better?
- How does my company, brand, website, etc. compare with other companies that do the same thing?
- What would make you absolutely thrilled with the service I provide?
- How can I improve?
- What am I doing well?
- How does my company look? Smell? Feel?
You should also be on top of what your competitors are doing. Talk to their clients, and check out their services. How do you compare.
Customers have a lot of choices. S0 as business owners, our number one goal of marketing is to communicate to customers why they should choose us, which is what branding is all about.
So make sure that your branding matches your buzz, or it won’t be long that your buzz will match your branding.