Step back and ask yourself a million dollar question: “If we don’t spend a dime on marketing, not involve an ad-agency will people still be aware of our brand and understand what it stands for?”
Because in the real world of branding (for small and medium companies), you don’t have big marketing dollars so you have to depend on people to “create” your brand for you. Let’s assume you have the VC money to do that, high chances are your go-to market team might kill it the moment they start talking.
Here are 8 ways you can cut through the noise and make a space for yourself:
Tell stories, use pictures, and talk about results: The most enchanting people tell stories, discuss results, and use pictures to influence and persuade others. They do not belittle or berate. They paint a picture in people’s minds whether the medium is email, social media, in-person presentations, phone calls, or video conferences. There is only one Steve Jobs, but if you want a shot at being the next Steve Jobs, learn to communicate using stories, results, and pictures.
Have a human tone to your conversations: Great brands and their sales teams achieve a high level of humanness. They speak to you as an individual, not as part of a market. It’s “my iPod.”, “My Harley Davidson.”, “My bottle of Coke.” By contrast, you never think, “My Samsung,” or “My Microsoft Office”. Use simple English language, in both your sales conversations and collateral.
Take the opposite test: How many times have you read this and liked it? “It is our business to continue to completely monetize effective products while endeavouring to proactively network business solutions to solve industry problems.?”- I bet, even the CEO would stop for a breath to say the whole thing. Companies use these adjectives as if no other company claims that it is effective, solves problems, and is proactive. The marketing departments of many companies assume that once they’ve put out the press release, the entire world understands the message. It’s unlikely that even the entire company does. A good exercise would be, cascade your message down in the organisation. Start with your board of directors and work down to the front desk and make sure every employee understands the branding.
Make your prospect/client look good: Forget you are working for another organisation, your job is to make your prospect look good. See your prospect as your boss and your sole intention is to make her super successful. The more you’ll make efforts to make her successful, the more you will be perceived as a trusted adviser.
Stop Selling, start advising: The buying world has changed, so we need to adjust too. Presentation on your vision mission statement, number of offices, people and locations don’t work anymore. Please don’t do it! Be an adviser to your clients, understand their challenges and consult them how they can be more productive. Be genuinely curious about their business.
Be brief: In the workplace there are few minimums. In my entire career, I can count on one hand the instances when an email, presentation, or report was too short. The perfect length for everything is when it is “complete” which could take a while— In reality less is more and small is powerful. My guidelines: email—150 words; presentations—tens slides and report—one page.
Have a mantra not mission statements: Mission statements are for billion dollar companies, not for small and medium sized firms, for them it’s the work “mantra”. No easy shortcuts to achieve that. Coach your teams 10,000 times a day about your business objective and mantra till they start breathing it every waking moment of their lives.
One more thing: Don’t just use your cheek bones to smile, involve the eye muscles too. It would make you more likeable, I am grinning ear to ear 🙂