Do you have one of those brands?
You know, the ones people secretly snicker about?
Here’s what they’re saying under their breath:
“I don’t know what this company does!”
“Their website looks like a 12-year-old designed it.”
“Their sales techniques are so slimy I don’t want to deal with them.”
“I can’t remember the name of the company.”
If you’re worried that people are saying these things about your brand, read on. These issues have fixes, and I’m going to share them with you today.
Problem: “I don’t know what this company does!”
Solution: Be clear
I just returned from the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas with a pile of business cards. It’s pretty revealing to flip through them and recall the conversation you had with the person who handed each card to you.
In some cases, you walk away with a clear vision of what the person does. You understand the value behind their offering.
In other cases, you’re left scratching your head, asking “How does that person make money with their business? And what exactly do they do?”
The difference between the two reactions is a result of whether or not someone can sum up their offering in a sentence or two. It comes down to the “elevator speech,” or what I like to call the Big Brand Promise.
If you can summarize what your company does and who you help in a couple of breaths, you’re in good shape. If you can’t, this might help.
Problem: “Their website looks like a 12-year-old made it.”
Solution: Develop a clean, clear visual brand
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that creating a memorable brand doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
Branding your business boils down to understanding your target market and creating information and imagery that will resonate with them. Once you’re clear about who they are and what they like, you can make decisions about your colors, fonts and imagery.
After that, it’s a matter of implementing these decisions consistently over time so you can slowly but surely build recognition and awareness.
It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn the basics and implement them starting now. It gets easier the more you practice, I promise. 🙂
Problem: “Their sales techniques are so slimy, I don’t want to deal with them.”
Solution: Build trust with good information and follow up
We’re in business, which means we have to sell. Whether we’re selling services or products, our job will be easier if we build trust over time and create relationships within our target market.
It’s not about making a sale at any cost: business is much easier when you have a group of core customers who trust your products and services and will buy from you again in the future.
For this reason, it’s important to steer clear of using heavy-handed marketing techniques that alienate your prospects and customers. The long-term cost is too high.
The next time someone tries to sell you on a fast-track system that will “create thousands of sales for your business” by hounding prospects or tricking them into buying from you, turn and walk in the opposite direction. It’s better to take the long view, and build your business by building relationships.
Problem: “I can’t remember the name of the company”
Solution: Don’t be afraid to show some personality
This might be the most difficult problem to solve, and it’s also the most common.
We desperately want our businesses to appeal to a broad audience of potential buyers, so we carefully craft marketing materials that won’t “offend” anyone and will “appeal to everyone.”
The end result? Marketing materials that are so watered down and boring that instead of appealing to the masses, they’re massively unappealing to everyone.
Don’t make this mistake. Spend some time defining the “sweet spot” that combines your offering, your target market’s needs and that certain “personality” that will make your brand memorable. For help defining your brand personality, see this post: there’s a free downloadable Brand Personality Quiz to guide you.
How about you?
Have you found yourself thinking these things about any of the brands you come across? Are there other “shocking truths” you’ve thought and haven’t confessed to?
This is the place to air them out: hit the comment section and tell me all about them!