I’ve kept just one dress from my days in corporate. Its one purpose? To wear to funerals. This dress pairs nicely with the one pair of heels I’ve kept from my days in corporate. (I used to stuff them into the bottom drawer of my desk at the office so I could change into them on arrival because I was almost always late and heels would only slow me down.)
Unfortunately, I had to pull these out of the closet last week to say goodbye to someone who I will think of every time I hear a pigeon.
Anyway, I don’t own that many pairs of shoes, but about 50% of the ones I do own are from the same brand. I’ll tell you why in a swift second. First, I want to share a quote from the marketing master, Seth Godin.
“A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one service over another.”
I haven’t yet made it all the way through a Seth Godin book (I know! What’s wrong with me?!) but I love his nuggets of wisdom almost as much as I love his yellow spectacles. The quote above is one that had me nodding my head like, ummm, a pigeon.
Building a captivating brand means intentionally putting yourself in a league of your own, but being a category of one doesn’t automatically give people a reason to CHOOSE you.
You still need to set an expectation.
>>> Work with me and this is what you’ll get. Also, this is what you WON’T get.
You still need to be memorable. If they can’t remember you, why would they buy from you?
>>> This is the free brain tattoo I’m giving you.
You still need to tell a story. A story that your best-fit clients can see themselves in. A story that’s worth sharing.
>>> This is what I believe, and this is what I believe about you. Am I right? If so, here’s something you’ll love.
You still need to build a relationship.
>>> This is about more than profit. The experience you have here matters.
If I ever need a new pair of shoes, I always head to Toms first. Here’s why.
They’ve set my expectations >>> If I buy, I’m going to get cute, high-quality shoes that feel like clouds under my feet.
They’re memorable >>> Aside from the fact their ad targeting is a little too good for a click-happy online shopper, I’ve bought from them so many times before that they automatically come to mind now. Hey, the best customer is a return customer. Also, I have specific memories attached to the brand. For example, the first gift I ever bought my other half was a pair of Toms! I’ve since bought a pair for my mum. Basically, if you know me, I might buy you a pair. You’re welcome.
They tell a story I like to see myself in >>> Every time I buy a pair of shoes, Toms donates a pair to a child in need. That makes me feel good, like I’m part of a bigger movement that’s making a difference. How many shoe brands can 1) say that, and 2) make me feel that?
There’s a relationship that’s built over time >>> I’ve only had one frustrating experience with the brand in, maybe, ten years (oh, how that makes me feel old) and that was when they changed their sizing without notice. I remember walking to a Coldplay concert having stuffed my feet into a pair of peacock-blue Toms and was in agony by the time I got there. Not even Chris Martin on the piano could fix me. WINK.
(This is actually the kind of memory that could have caused me not to choose Toms again, but once I found my “new size” all was forgiven.)
Branding is everything that makes a person decide to choose YOU.
So, what expectations are you setting?
What makes you memorable?
What story are you telling?
What relationship are you building?
Note that nothing here mentions cost…
Working with you might be someone else’s choice to make, but you don’t have to leave their choice up to chance.
I know you won’t.