Because of some client interactions of late, I have been thinking a lot about branding. Once again, my favorite magazine , Fast Company is right on time with just the inspiration I needed in an article by Jake Zucker, Proof in the Eating.
Zucker followed the process when a cutting edge consultancy firm took on a not terribly cool small business. There where some great branding take-aways. (Yes the small business is a mall restaurant chain that has absolutely nothing to do with weddings but what have I told you about looking outside the box for branding and marketing ideas. Besides, they have the same demographic you do!) ;-)
One of the things the consultants suggested was -
know your client first then work backwards
So simple but so brilliant. How many of you started your branding from who you were and what you wanted to project? Who cared what the target market wanted!
When the big kids set out to brand a company, the first thing they do is build complete profiles of the subsets of people in the demographic for the client. They give them names and faces and get to “know ” them. Then they start to build the profile of the business to appeal to those subsets unique problems, desires and needs. They take into account the way they are attracted to the companies goods and services and the way in which they want them delivered.
How smart is it to have your branding appeal to 50 something crafters when your demographic is 28 year career women that live in a large city? Or building a sleek, clean industrial looking brand when your brides are more likely to follow NASCAR that Fashion Week?
You have to think deeply about who your real client is.
Another point they made…
Millenials value brevity
I see way to many websites that have page after page of the written word. Man, keep it short and sweet, use bullet points and illustrations where ever possible.
Your website and marketing material is to attract there attention. In our industry, you are going to have to have some one on one conversation to seal the deal. That is when you can get into all the details and nuances of what you do.
One more tidbit…
You can’t pick your signature item, your clients will pick it
I know you want to do just the full package, or only want to do fondant cakes, or only plated dinners instead of buffets; but really people, your clients are going to tell you what your signature is. It’s the package that keeps getting booked, or the cake with the ruffles that you are sick of, or they love you as a day-of planner because you have the reputation of saving the day.
As children, we were taught to work on our weaknesses. Bullshit! Why, so you can bring them up to a level of competence? I say you throw out (or farm off) those things that you aren’t excelling in and focus all your attention on the things you are already good at and become great!
In short, listen to your clients about what you do best, your signature item if you will, and become even better. Build your business around it.
One more thing, this one from me.
Our target is constantly evolving, your brand and your business has to evolve with them.