While I don’t personally like to spend too much time wondering what people think about me….it is very important to understand what clients and potential clients think about me and my business in order to see what perceptions people may have. This is all a part of evaluating your brand!
What perceptions do people have of you and your business?
I’ve learned over the years that it is imperative that you ask! Believe me, people will be more than happy to tell you. Several years ago, after surveying clients, past customers, associates, and internet clients, a business associate and I learned a tremendous amount about ourselves. We learned that people did business with us because we were fun, they liked us, and they wanted to be more like us. They felt that we were successful and well-connected. Duh. We thought we were brilliant and highly educated women who had skills above and beyond our competitors, and clearly should be chosen for the business.
The latter part was also true, (of course) but the core message that we received from LISTENING to others was something a little different. Lots of people could help them with the details of marketing. We made it enjoyable and unique! Hmn. We found that once we changed our ads to reflect a more fun image, and began communicating concepts in a new way (“What would you do with your free time if your business ran without you?”) we began having amazing results. We were congruent with the perceptions people had about us, and built on those things that they already liked.
What emotional response is elicited when people think about you and your business? Whether they feel joy, peace, comfort, support, encouragement, direction, ease, motivated, inspired, energized, interested or excited is extremely important. Does that emotion lead them to buy from you? Are there negative emotions associated with your brand? How can you make this more positive?
Why don’t you spend some time right now and begin the process of discovering your own brand? (you have one whether you know it or not! Others DO have perceptions about you, and you do elicit some emotional response…)
1. What words come to mind when others think of you?
2. What words do you use in your Marketing and advertising?
3. Who are you trying to attract?
4. What emotion will attract them?
5. What images help create this emotion and message?
5. Is your current BRAND working?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, it’s OK. But you absolutely MUST focus on these questions before attempting to establish a generic “brand” that is meaningless in the eyes of the public. Establish a brand that has meaning, communicates pertinent information, and attracts the right clients, and you’ll find yourself with so much more than a herd of business cards and a ranch full of stationery. You’ll be enjoying business, and getting an endless stream of referrals to keep it going.