Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: Summer Course About Branding
Start by finding out exactly what they do think. Identify a representative cross-section of customers and have them do the brand attributes exercise we mentioned earlier, describing the three words or phrases they most strongly associate with your company. Have them do the same for your key competitors.
This useful exercise can help you identify issues or inconsistencies with your brand. Are you the “innovative” brand, but “traditional” came to mind first for many customers? Perhaps your Website does a poor job communicating your forward-thinking mentality.
To close the gap between your brand identity and how customers perceive you, focus on delivering stronger, more memorable brand impressions. Keep your branded communications short and compelling, and make sure every one answers the question “why should my customers care?”
No matter how hard you work to convince every customer you’re A, some will always think you’re B or C. That’s OK. Focus on what you can control—your own branding activities.
Ironically, our most advanced branding course involves trying to answer the most basic of questions. In 2013, what does a printer call itself?
Seems like an easy question. Is it? The printing marketplace has changed and, today, customers rely on us for much more than printing ink on paper. Today, printing businesses offer everything from fulfillment and supply-chain management to interactive cross-media solutions.
When is a printer no longer a printer? If marketing services account for 30 percent of your business, can you call yourself a marketing services provider? How would branding yourself with such a “non-printer” label impact how customers view you?
Let’s look closer at a few possible labels for today’s printer.
Printer: The traditional label sells most of us short. Even the rare printer that’s still 100 percent ink-and-paper services offers many things (problem solving, reliability) that “printer” doesn’t connote. For the many printers that do much more than print, this label is even less accurate.
Bill Farquharson is a partner at Idealliance. As a print-specific sales trainer, Farquharson applies a fundamentally-sound approach to his coaching, online programs (found at sales.epicomm.org), and live presentations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 934-7036 to discuss your sales challenges.