While I am well versed in branding, this was a really useful exercise as it delved into some recent new trends in brand experience – and this is the focus of this piece.
Here are a few pointers I’d like to share with you as I believe for service-based businesses, in particular, it’s really key to stand out from the crowd with the brand experience you offer to your target audience.
Define your ‘dream’ client
I cannot stress the importance of this one – it forms the basis of every single aspect of your brand messaging, in fact, your entire brand marketing strategy. How can you develop your brand if you don’t have a clear idea of who it is you want to buy your services? So, if you haven’t done so – you need to develop a client persona or avatar asap. You may have more than one but, for a service-based business or consultancy, you shouldn’t really have more than 2-3 and they should all have many common traits. Have a read of my blog on Ideal Clients to discover more.
Choose 5 words that really describe your brand (or you if you are your brand!)
These should always be reflected in your branding – no matter what marketing channels you favour – website, social media profiles, and content, brochures, infographics, e-books. It’s not about using the actual words, more that everything should consistently convey the sentiment of them.
Choose 3 core business goals
These might include a certain level of financial growth, the launch of a new service or raising your brand awareness as an expert in your sector. Remember these goals when you are developing any content to represent your brand. Whatever the marketing channel – your content should be aimed at engaging with your ideal client/s so you can achieve these goals. And remember the 80/20 rule for any content (80% added value/20% soft sell). It can even be non-work related, just keep those goals in mind.
Get your elevator pitch nailed
I belong to a range of business networking groups and early on in my networking days I realised it was key to have my introduction refined so that my message is always consistent when It’s my 60 seconds in the spotlight. Having a clear brand positioning proposition – what you do, why, for who, and how they benefit – doing this really helped me create a memorable elevator pitch that is not a sales pitch! Focus on whom you help, what you are helping them with, and how you do that – it should be a paragraph at most. Remember some networking really are strict on how long you get to say your piece!
If the term elevator pitch is new to you – it basically means delivering a very short, clear description of who you are, your ideal client, what you do and how to make their life easier, all within the approximate time it takes to travel to the top floor of a multi-floor building in a lift. Getting your elevator pitch sorted is a great way to really focus in on your key messages. (A variation of it can also be used as your LinkedIn profile header too!) My blog “Don’t underestimate the power of networking in your marketing toolbox” is worth a read if you want to make the most of your investment in networking.
Develop your style
If your brand is you, this is crucially important but also needs to be considered if you are employed and represent an SME. Your marketing content should be delivered with authenticity so make sure your tone of voice, visual style, use of words, slang (if that’s your choice) reflect you (or your company), and how you would come across if you met with someone face-to-face.
Remember the brand style you develop needs to engage with your ideal clients. Just be mindful of the channel the content will be used on – it is important to consider the format may be different – the overall style should always be consistent but different social channels need a different content format – but that is a topic for another day!
Choose 1 or 2 services that really are your specialty
This is a tough one for me because I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked across most marketing channels in my career – a marketing generalist if you will. However, I will shortly be launching a new simplified suite of services where I offer not just my expertise but I am choosing to focus just on the elements of branding and marketing that I am most passionate about – this combination means I can add the most value to my own ideal clients.
If you offer a range of services – think about the ones where you get the most enjoyment, the ones where you can add real value, and think about how you can differentiate your service offering from your competition. Marketing for example is a vast melting pot of skills and use of channels – trying to offer it all is just too much, likewise for HR, financial services, or business coaching, for example. Be known for being a real specialist in a niche or for working with a niche audience and make that niche your own.
Choose where you promote your brand – less is more
There are so many marketing channels to choose from and for most service-based SMEs or consultants it’s easy to focus on social media as this can be cost-effective when marketing budgets are limited, but many are often then swayed by the dreaded FOMO. There is a belief that you have to be present on every social media platform, this is something I hear over and over again and is just not manageable when time is at a premium. If I can offer one piece of advice – choose just 1, a maximum of 2, social platforms, as this allows you enough daily time to consistently show up and engage without it having to take up hours of your time. Don’t be swayed by social media you like – focus on knowing the channels your ideal clients are on – that’s where you need to invest your time.
Consider every touchpoint of the brand experience you offer
For service-based companies and consultants, what’s the client experience like when they visit your website, sign-up to your newsletter, receive an email from you, call you and hear a voicemail message? As many SME’s and consultants are now embracing the use of marketing automation (a good thing!) its critical to test every step – make those automated ‘thank you for signing up’ emails sound like they are from your business – remember that consistent tone of voice and style of writing. All too often this is where larger organisations let themselves down because they don’t consider these little brand experiences that their potential clients may get put off by. And it doesn’t stop with attracting and engaging new clients – many overlook the importance of the brand experience that they offer to their existing clients.
If you would like to have a chat about brand experience then why not Book a FREE 30-minute discovery call for a taster of how I can help you with some tips to get your brand experience attracting, engaging, and ultimately retaining your dream clients.