Recently, I’ve had two unprovoked, very distasteful interactions with marketing professionals. One, a self published niche sales and marketing consultant who was aggressive and argumentative during a presentation, another a nationally known, $20K per session consultants’ consultant marketer who was offended when I suggested that he fix a misleading mistake on his website from eight months ago. I’m both embarrassed and appalled that they represent my industry because ultimately they represent myself by association. However, with negative experience aside, the real issue here, is their egos. The egotistical narcissistic traits of arrogance, envy, reluctance to take or share credit doesn’t nurture their customers and certainly doesn’t serve their company’s brand.
It’s not how you show up, it’s how you leave.
Good marketing strategy is one part listening, even when the information is hard to hear, and one part taking action to what you heard. Doing one without the other is a futile exercise in insanity. Your ideal clients and prospects will tell you what they want from you but you have to be brave enough to hear it and do something about it…even when you’re uncomfortable because they may have called you out on a mistake, have a difference of philosophy or better solution to the services you provide. Most of the time, they LIKE you and are looking for ways to HELP you become a better company and provider because they want to see you SUCCEED. They WANT to work with you! The time to get scared, is when no one is saying anything to you. That’s because they don’t care – you’ve become the white noise, the wall flower, the apple among all the other apples.
So, how does this all pertain to your company’s brand? Being authentic with who you are and how you serve your target market consistently across all your marketing materials and efforts (website, brochures, logo, phone message, ads, social media, direct mail, press releases, presentations, etc.) is often the easier task compared to upholding your brand. Keeping it consistent when you’re out and about interacting with COIs (Centers of Influences), prospects, suspects, etc., is when the “Wizard of Oz Effect” (“there’s nothing to see behind the curtain”) can creep into the conversation. For a very basic example, if part of your brand profile company personality is professional and all your marketing correspondence reflects that but you show up to a community networking event wearing a worn out tee-shirt and faded corduroys, those around you will question who you really are. In fact, they will also question if you can provide the services you advertise because of your contradiction. They will lose trust in your abilities and start to look at your competitors to hire.
When your brand isn’t consistent, you erode trust which erodes sales.
Keeping ego out of your company isn’t such a hard fight when your brand accurately and genuinely reflects your brand profile. Do you have a brand profile in the office to remind you of who you are, what you do, who you do it for and how you do it? A brand profile is compiled through brainstorming with your entire team. Determining the company’s Personality, Core Values and Action Statements, Properties, Target Market, Market Insight, Advertising Tagline, Unique Selling Proposition and Benefit Statement. All of these categories should reflect back to the company’s Essence. If they don’t, your brand isn’t worth the paper you created it on, your prospects will feel the insincerity and your employees will run amuck with no direction.
Want to learn more about creating a brand profile? Download our free eBook, Secrets to Authentic Brand Identity – What everyone ought to know about Brand Development, and start having weekly meetings with your team to develop a comprehensive brand that everyone can represent.