Becoming Friends - Your Brand Message

In our last article we discussed the importance of creating and enforcing your brand guidelines. A vital step that should really take place prior to crafting your guidelines, even before opening shop, is defining, writing and distributing your brand message. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is assuming that their employees, not to mention the general public, know who they are and what they stand for. Consumers want to work with companies that they know and trust. If your message is not clearly defined and clearly spoken, your clients may choose to go elsewhere.

The Friendship Metaphor

To help you more clearly define your message, I'd like to relate Brand Messaging to friendship. This may seem a little silly at first but stick with me and I think it will all make sense.

Personalities

I am by no means an expert on friendship and human personality, but I know enough to know that in every potential friendship there are two separate personalities involved, yourself and the other guy. Your company is no different. Much like people, there are many different personalities/personas that a company can take on. The first and most difficult step in the process of defining your message is defining which personality best suites your company. Be aware, that your company may, on its own, begin to develop its own unique personality for better or for worse. It's at this point that you can either lean into it or bend it (A process called Repositioning).

Your Best Foot Forward 

So know you know a little more about who you are, what's next? For any potential friendship to have a chance of working out, we have to put our best foot forward and make a good impression. Making a good first impression can make or break a potential client. If your to aggressive they may be put off, to weak and they'll find someone stronger. When making a first impression its important to highlight your best qualities and the qualities that best match your potential clients. Show them what a great guy/girl you are and how much you have in common. BE RELATABLE.

Long Time Friends

Real friendships don't end after you make the first impression. To have a long term relationship with someone you need to connect, share, communicate and most importantly, make them feel important, like you actually care. You need to keep in touch with your friends in order to stay friends. In the business world this can be done through targeted marketing, emails, special offers, reward programs and the like. To keep a client you need to remind them that you exist, that your thinking of them and that you care. 

Shortcomings 

Every personality has its shortcomings. Every friend has that one thing they do that you just can't stand, but do you stop being friends? The business world (while much less forgiving then friendship) works a bit the same way. Loyal customers will stay loyal even if you do some things they don't always care for. Again, the business world is much less forgiving so be careful on this one. Remember that loyalty in friendship is earned and if you want any kind of grace from customers, you will have to earn it. Great customer service can make all the difference when there is an issue with an order. I have had damaged, important, items shipped to me and because of the great customer service and their willingness to correct the issue, I felt important and I still use their services.

You Can't Be Friends with Everyone

It's every companies dream to have the entire world buying or using their products and services. The reality is, you can't be friends with everyone. Even a company like Google, with its 1.2 trillion searches a day, has people who still prefer Bing and Yahoo. If you try and appeal to the world you will stretch yourself thin. Find your group of friends and be friends.

I know this metaphor may have seemed a bit silly at times, but it really is a great comparison of how brand messaging works. So spend some time developing your unique personality. If you need a little help give us a call  at 330.478.1551 or email us at info@archboardmedia.com we would love to partner with you in crafting your personality.