The power of the imperfect brand!

In an imperfect world, can your brand be perfect?

Richard Branson once said “Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealised, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”

What I see online is every second brand using same calligraphy free fonts, pinkish, peach and golden colours and even sites of such “experts” are looking as if they belong to the same girl.

Well, I know you love it.
All these golden plates, mysterious and unreadable fonts that imitate handwriting. I get it, — no rules. Frankly, I got it after I saw one webinar from such “expert”, she shows her stockings and told everyone that she is a brand. And I tried to remember when in last 17+ years of working in advertising and branding industry I showed socks to clients, and I couldn’t remember such moments. That moment I felt extremely outdated. Yes, my hair was green when I was eighteen, and I was probably only one woman with green hair in my country, so on streets, people asked if I’m feeling well. What I want to say is branding is not always trendy. Branding communicates on a very different, deeper level than seasonal changes.

Once upon a time in advertising festival in Europe, I heard the thought that the company need to grow its customer. You sell the soap and clothes to the parents, having in mind their children who will be your customers in ten years, and that you can plan your business based on it. I guess it was very rational thought for 2003. Nowadays however we stop thinking ahead, we are overwhelmed in the here and now, and we need a solution which saves us now.

Here is the solution build a brand wisely. Make it “perfectly imperfect”. It doesn’t mean — try to do it yourself because “perfectly imperfect” by professionals and “perfectly imperfect” by an untrained person without experience are two different things. But think about your quality which your business inherited from you. You will be surprised how your imperfection can attract buyers who associate with the same or are just tired from perfection. Such approach offers a client to relax, tells them “I’m just like you” without saying it. Your little story, your character, your funny habits and a little bit weird beliefs can be transformed to a closer, deeper and more confident connection between you and your client.

P.S. Make a list of your imperfections, strange habits, and old stories. Choose those which can be relevant to your business and can add character to your brand. Use the results in your stories, visuals and ads.

Photo by Freepik

How to Name your Business?

“…Name your business with your name and do whatever you want. Change your niche, forget about marketing rules, etc….”

I heard this recommendation so many times that I almost believe in it. But even if this idea works 15% of the time, it’s surely better than nothing. Let’s see when it does work and when it doesn’t work.

It will work for artists, musicians, writers, public people. But it may not work if you build the business and plan to sell it later. When you are going to plan serious businesses, which you can sell later, it’s better to have the name which related and connected with the business.

If you choose to use another name, here is another catch. Is a name supposed to be about the business or it can be abstract?

Here are few thoughts from experience.

The name which has “that’s what you sell” in the name helps you to be memorable as an expert. (Apple Computer Inc., for example, they changed a name after they changed the product line to Apple Inc.) It makes your company searchable online in a better way, especially if your site has the same name as your business. It gives to your potential clients a lot of clarity that these people are in this market segment. Because of the previous points, it’s a bit easier to advertise and promote the business with the very direct name. But with time, it’s harder to get such names.
If your name, however, doesn’t contain the connection with your niche, you can create a powerful explanatory tagline and use it along with the name.

An abstract company name seems like a good solution in the overcrowded market. But because no one knows what does, it means it’s a bit difficult to remember. That mean it will require more promotion, more budget and more creative approach to advertising. I bet you can give me a dozen of the big brand names which means nothing. But I would ask you to remember a few things, how long time ago they become famous and how much money they invested to this popularity.

The another option is to create an abbreviated name. It often works well for large enterprises like PricewaterhouseCoopers known as PwC. You will spend more to promote such names, just like with abstract name.

So what to choose? Your name or some business name. If you do not plan to sell your company you can experiment with your name. You can even add the indicative market word to it, like “Joe’s Jewellery”. If your name is not pronounceable or very ethnic, it will work the same as abstract business name (people will have difficulty in remembering it). Then maybe use the name which people can remember.

I would choose the name which reflects what you do, and if you want to use your name yet add an indicative market word to it. Something like Jackson’s Computers may be boring but use both the function and the family name.

P.S. Don’t be confused or stopped by the business naming.  Many large companies changed their names and logos in the beginning. Just go with the name which seems appropriate and efficient enough at the moment.

Good branding costs no more than the bad one

The only difference the bad one can harm your communication. I saw many people who created really bad brand communication for their business. Then they spent a huge amount of money to publish it in newspapers.

I wish I could say it doesn’t work.

But I’ll not lie to you. It works. If you put any advertisement in a newspaper, on the first page, it will be noticed somehow. If you put even the best advertisement, on the last page or elsewhere, it may be lost. The question is if you put a good advertisement on the first page, and you will do it consistently during the month…what will happen?

You may ask, how is these newspaper examples are related to us? Well, it works in the same way in any media. Let’s say you post random images irrelevant to your brand time to time in 10 Facebook groups. Guess how soon people will notice you? Never. What they will notice is your social skills, and then they will like or ignore, your posts, just because they know you. However, if you go with consistent messages and provide clients with rich content (value, visuals, copy) on a regular basis. They will notice you even if you do not talk to anyone. They may like or not like you, but that’s the personal choice after all.

So effective, strategically build brand and brand communication make you noticeable and create the image in customer’s mind. As a result, you get more clients and more money.

Think about it.

Would you like your customers to recommend your business to their friends and fill your agenda for months ahead? It is time to turn your business into a brand! Subscribe and get your checklist today!

Build your tribe with the right branding

People love brands. They follow the ideas; they share the sense of being a part of a brand community. If you ever loved the brand, you would know who are other customers. Long ago Apple aimed at creative young people; they knew they had a need for the different aesthetics and approach, so they created their products based on their client’s perception about a good UI or good device. If you ever talk to advertising creative teams, you would find that many of them are proud Apple product users. Yes, no mistake, they are proud. They got that community idea from the old times and still follow it.

Check the internet and see how many people talk about the shifted from iPhone to Android. For this type of category, it is a powerful controversy headline. Which means “how dare you switch”. But Apple is no longer so exclusive. It becomes an average expensive product, innovations are in their past as of now they are playing safe, and the charm and magic of the Job’s Apple almost vanish.

Another example is Hugo Boss, Hermes, Burberry, Jimmy Choo. All these brands convey the prestige. People choose them to get into the different world, to be a part of the success community. Sometimes they may have nothing to eat, but they will buy a branded bag or car. Well, that’s extreme and illustrates a dark side of a brand, (big brands in particular).

When you build your brand, you create a centre, an attraction factor where your tribe will gather. They will believe your message, your actions, your promises and they will recommend you to other people. With no reason, just because they love your brand.

How to write a killer response to your customers and increase sales.

Business is not only excellent feedback and love emails from clients. As business owners, we often face a lot of criticism, with and without reason. When the words are kind, that’s great, but when they mean to harm you, it is sad as we tend to take them personally. But here is the catch. In online world people often decide to buy or not to buy on account of feedback. Not to mention, that the public opinion of your buyers is also a core element of the brand.

So let me teach you how to sell using your reply to negative comments.

As people put attention on them, they also read your replies. When you show yourself as a lovely, funny and a very responsible person, it makes people believe that you brand cares!

My example is from the food industry. A friend of mine has a delivery kitchen restaurant. 50% of orders come via an app/site which hosts all restaurants in Delhi; it’s a portal. Reviews are a critical part of this portal and impact people’s decision to buy. My friend usually asks me to check this reviews and answer them. Though majority of reviews are excellent. Some users give terrible feedbacks.

So my rules on answering to negative comments are like this:

  1. Always answer all reviews, people value attention and see that you care. If you show up when the biz is in trouble, clients believe in your leadership, and they are ready to follow and to buy, even though they have read the negative feedback. All you need to do is to be attentive, responsible and respectful, and find the solution. Also, be polite, even if the comment is bad.
  2. Everyone read negative reviews and your replies! Sell through it. Find a unique solution which shows that you care and can deal with a bad situation. Propose alternative products to find the solution, describe the great qualities of the products so that the other readers will see that you are an expert and find more about other products which have not been criticised.
  3. If the review is just wrong without any reason (some people are evil), make them suffer. Example: “Well, a majority of our clients love our food, and we care about the needs and tastes of our tribe, who have a sophisticated taste and exquisite love for brilliant dishes. But, let’s be honest, we can’t please all.”
  4. Make sure you show that an action was taken. Example: “Thank you for your feedback, we just fired a person who cooked it for you, we are sorry for the inconvenience.” That gives you two results. The readers think that you are serious. And the offender feels guilty because he just got another person fired. That means that the level of his anger comes down.

Conclusion — your answers for a negative feedback sells better than the paid advertising, so do it wisely.