How To Become The Only Logical Choice For Your Customers

BY ISABEL GUTIERREZ

Image by Sandrachile @Unsplash

Image by Sandrachile @Unsplash

How many hours per month do you dedicate to networking? Do you enjoy it? Wouldn’t it be nice if your ideal customers engage with you? Find you? How much time and energy would you save?

Meeting other businesses is, in my opinion, a crucial part to succeed. However, when networking is purely driven by the pressure of having to hunt for new business, it can be an extremely frustrating and tiring experience. By contrary, when networking focuses on collaboration, support and increasing brand awareness, it can bring countless opportunities for growth.

So, how do you flip the coin and attract customers on a continuous basis? How do you become their only logical choice?

By ticking the three boxes below:

☑️ Establishing a recognisable brand

Having a logo, a visual identity, a website or a social media presence doesn’t mean you actually have a brand. You may have acquired all the components to build your house but you have forgotten to lay the foundations.

I love the way Denise Lee Yohn explains this in her book, What Great Brands Do:

...brands are often misunderstood or misrepresented. The idea of a brand is more often perceived as a tool for appealing to external audiences — in marketing, PR, may even sales. I’ve heard people define a brand as a company’s name, logo, image, advertising, aura, personality, look and feel, attitude, reputation, or trademark...
But the fact is, none of these are your brand....
Your brand is the experience that is actually delivered and communicated through every single thing you do, every day, around the clock.

In other words, a brand is the DNA of a business. It gives it its unique cells, with its unique peculiarities and personality traits. Hence the expression: “people buy people.”

When people are evaluating other people, a product or a service, they use emotions rather than information to form their opinion. This is why the entire experience of your business will determine how people feel about your company, how they perceive it and as a result, how they evaluate and categorise it.

To establish your brand, you must have crystal clear clarity on:

  • Who you are as a business.

  • What core values hold your foundations and drive your actions.

  • Why you love doing what you do and what your true purpose behind it is.

  • And finally, what your business looks like in a few years time.

When this is all firmly established, you can then start articulating its essence across everything you do, including your marketing activity. Your brand becomes the main driver of your business, informing your decisions and actions.

☑️ Understanding the emotions of your customers

Knowing your customers and actually understanding them are two different matters. To create a strong connection between your business and your customers, you must have an in-depth understanding of their emotional needs.

Brand connection, just like human connection, is more psychological than logical, and more unconscious than conscious. Like you, your customers are influenced by their own belief system, and these beliefs (quite often unconscious) determine how they perceive your business and what’s more, if they relate to it.

In order to get under the skin of your ideal customers so that they resonate with you, you must remove all focus from yourself and direct it to them. Study their attitude, needs, problems, values, feelings, goals, day-to-day experiences, thoughts, actions, challenges, motivations, frustrations, fears, etc... Essentially, see the world through their eyes.

Once you are aware of their feelings, you are able to sympathy with them. And this is very powerful, because it enables you to engage with them at a subconscious level, creating an emotional bond. You’re no longer a business providing them with a solution or offering them a new product. You know their pain and you are the one who can help them overcome it. At the same time, they are not longer choosing your business because of what you do or know but because emotionally they trust you. They BELIEVE IN you.

Do bear in mind, your brand won’t be for everyone. But this is good. It means you will attract those customers who share your values, making you stronger and more authentic to them as a brand.

☑️ Create a strong and distinctive brand message

Be very, very niche. The more you narrow your services and create a package which will erase your customer’s biggest pain, the more attention your business will gain.

My coach shared with me this story the other day. There was a barber shop that had been going on for generations and had always experienced great success. One day, a new, cheaper salon opened in their vicinity, offering £6 haircuts and as a result, they lost a lot of their clientele. They knew they could not lower their prices because by doing so, they wouldn’t be able to cover their overheads. So they generated a strong and distinctive brand message which said: We fix £6 haircuts. Within a month, not only they had their customers back but also they increased their profit by 15%.

A strong brand message is not about what we do, or claiming to be better, faster or more knowledgable. It is about talking directly to our customers and telling them how our business can take away the draining migraine they have been carrying with them for a certain period of time.

And this is what I offer to my clients. Creating a strong brand message which underpins their story, generates effective marketing content by connecting emotionally with their target audience, leads to meaningful conversations and ultimately, turns customers into advocate fans.

When you have a distinctive brand message, your customers will clearly see your company as the go-to brand and your marketing activity will produce tangible results.

Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.
— Steve Forbes, Editor In Chief Of Forbes Magazine

How to create your perfect business name

BY ISABEL GUTIERREZ

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by entrepreneurs who are starting a new business is how to call it. They have clear ideas on how they’re going to deliver their products and services, some have even taken the time to find the right manufacturer and suppliers, but when it comes to select an appropriate name, they are stuck.

Names matter. Most new parents spend months short-listing their favourite boy and girl names in preparation for the arrival of their new baby. They want it right.

When choosing a name for your business, you should give it the same consideration as you would give to your newborn. Ultimately, this is your brand’s signature.

Your business name is your portal to building a magnificent brand. It should capture your essence, carry your values and be an ambassador of your promise. Besides, it should give you the scope to grow and evolve.

No wonder setting your heart on the right one may take a while. To make this process a little bit easier, here are some suggestions on what you may want to consider:

1. Depict what you want to be known for

Think about what you do. Then think of your products and services. Finally think of what sets them apart and the value they add. Your name should encompass all these considerations. Start by writing down words that truly convey your craft, and for a day or two, play with them. Create different combinations until you have something that feels good, resonates with your heart and reflects the type of business you aspire to create.

2. Know and understand your audience 

Having a very clear idea of the type of customers you would like to attract is essential. Firstly, you want to ensure your name appeals equally to women and men. So ditch the gender stereotype assumptions and focus on your audience’s social profiling instead. Understanding their needs, what challenges they face and what value your business will add to their lives will enable you to create a name that connects with them.

3. Use your own name

Why not? Your business is your idea, so in essence, it’s you. This option has a lot of benefits if you specialise in a particular craftsmanship or service and want to create an iconic, specialist label. Think of John Lewis, for example, or Selfridges, businesses that today still carry the original vision and values of the men behind them. By using your name, you are giving your business trustworthiness.

4. Choose a name that can be easily pronounced and spelled

From experience, I know that for English speakers pronouncing my surname can be challenging. This is why I decided to give my business a completely different name. When going through different options, make sure your name sounds good when it is said aloud. People should feel confident when saying it. You want your name to build a reputation on excellence and not awkwardness.

5. Avoid acronyms

They are impersonal and quite frankly, can easily be forgotten or misspelled. People associate names with people. Names convey humanity. Don’t be a robot.

6. Avoid foreign words

Unless you are opening a restaurant and want the name to reflect the type of cuisine, stick to English. Wonderful, plain English. English is the language of business worldwide, use it and make your business world-class.

7. Check the domain is available

This is very important. After weeks of brainstorming, shortlisting, testing, and finally deciding on your perfect name, you want to make sure you are able to buy its domain. Start by purchasing a minimum of two years, this will give you the opportunity to save it for a reasonable amount of money and time.

And a final piece of advice: never use a business name generator tool. This would be like digging your business’s grave before its birth. Be creative. Be playful. Be you.