Brand is a term that we hear a lot as business owners. Marketing experts regularly tell us how important brand building is. As a writer I focus on the way language impacts your ability to attract paying clients. So in this context, the term brand relates to the perception created through the use of language.
Do you know what your brand stands for and how you make your ideal clients feel? Founder of Intuit and expert marketeer Scott Cook insists that it’s no longer as simple as telling people how they should feel. It is what they are telling each other that matters. In other words – show them what you do and why, and they will tell you – and each other – how that makes them feel. That is where the real truth about your brand lies.
A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.
With that in mind I would like to move on from Starting With a Why and take a look at the people we are here to attract. Too often business owners focus on development, marketing and growth without understanding exactly who their clients are and why they might choose to engage with a particular product or service.
- What do we mean by ideal client?
We can all have a story about the customer we love to work with. The one that fills our hearts with joy as soon as they walk through the door. They might share similiar world views, they love what you offer and buy into the very reason you exist in the first place. There is no need to convert this customer to your way of thinking – they are already right there with you. I am going to call my ideal client George.
- What does George look like?
That depends on you. Ask yourself a few practical questions about George. Are they male or female? Single professional or young married couple? What do they do for a living? Are they in your local geographical area or further afield? When do they have any spare time and how do they spend it? How do they prioritise any disposal income?
- What do these things tell us?
All of these questions can help us identify the kind of language that is familiar to George, how their life experiences may influence their spending habits and what pressures are placed on their disposable income. It should also tell us where George is likely to hang out. Let’s take social media as an example. Research figures demonstrate that Pinterest is largely populated by a female audience that responds well to powerful imagery. Instagram is generally populated by young twenty somethings while Facebook is for “the older people”. (As I was recently informed by one of those very same young twenty somethings. I’m 41 and fit right into her category of ‘older people’ in case you were wondering.)
- What else can we find out about George?
Try to build up a rounded, well developed idea of who your ideal client is. What motivates them to take action? What are their aspirations? How can you create meaningful conversations with George and his friends? Do you work to a particular set of values that would create customer loyalty in this group? This is where your Why really comes into play.
So what does this have to do with brand building and the quote from Scott Cook? Tell your stories from a place of authenticity and George will hear your message. Talk about the issues that matter to you and how they motivate your business decisions. Show that you understand your ideal clients, their needs, what makes them happy – and why this matters to you. Create meaningful conversations and show that you are listening. Do this well and George will tell his friends, his family and even total strangers on social media.
As business owners we must be willing to listen to the stories other people are telling about our business. It can help us understand more about the impact we are having, which aspects to build on and what to let go. Ultimately, the language we and the wider population use to talk about our business can be the difference between success and failure.
This piece was written by Claire Davies: The Greedy Wordsmith. I am a freelance business writer helping business create meaningful conversations through the written and spoken word. Support is provided by means of copywriting, editing packages, 121 sessions and small group workshops.