Marketing is hard, right?
Like it's hard and extremely time consuming. So time consuming, in fact that I'm going to encourage you to spend more time on it.
I kid I kid. Marketing does not have to be hard. It does not have to be hard at all. It is sometimes, but it does not have to be hard.
What's really important though, is that you're being really smart.
So what I'm going to encourage you to spend some time on isn't necessarily marketing but branding.
If you can spend some more time with your brand and then maybe we can all have better outcomes,
Your brand is over here. Your customer over there.
What this really means is that we need to spend some concerted effort, making sure that these things are aligned. We need to make sure that we're concentrating our effort on driving our brand over to where our customer is, so that our brand is always aligned with our customer.
The more we can keep that alignment action going the better.
But if we are busy doing... being the technician, baking, creating, or doing whatever the thing is you do... if you're busy doing that, then all too often, you get to the point where your customer, has just floated off in a different direction.
And we really need to take some time to pull ourselves back in the direction of our customer.
And that is very much what I mean, I do not mean to pull your customer to you because this is not the game we're playing.
This is not about you. This is about them.
And so making sure that we are pulling ourselves back towards our customer, it's something that we need to be doing on a very regular basis and it doesn't have to take a lot of time, but if you're doing it on a regular basis is when it doesn't take a lot of time.
If you do a little bit of work now to stay aligned with your customer, you won't be forced to take a lot of time later to get in line with your customer.
And that is very much how small business branding works.
If you are as a small business owner, staying in contact, staying connected, staying aligned with your customer on a regular basis and doing that regularly thoughtfully, then you won't have to be forced to take the time to reevaluate your entire brand once every five years.
You will be able to just slowly make those incremental changes that will put you on the path to staying aligned with your customer all the time.
If your customer's story or motivation changes, are you adjusting your brand story to fit this new customer story? This is another area where we need to spend a bit more time developing our brand.
If your customer's motivations are changing, then you may need to adjust.
For example, if you are a person who is starting out selling products and services to people who are potty training children one of the things that happens as a function of you selling that product is that kids get potty trained.
Your job is to process people through your program and every time you do that, you're losing one client and hopefully replacing them with another client.
As you're helping parents train their kids, two very important things are happening.
This is exactly what I mean when I say that you need to adjust your story. Overtime, you're serving parents who are maybe primarily Millenials, but as time progresses, you transition into having parents who are Gen Z.
The reasons or motivations behind a Millenial hiring you and a Zennial hiring you may be very different.
But in addition to that, if you are switching from having millennials be your parent group to now having Gen Z be your parent group, you are going to have to make some changes to how you communicate your story, because the way that Zennials communicate and navigate the world is very different from how millennials navigate the world.
The change that you need to make is going to be in your story, how you're communicating that value. That's going to have to change.
What you do is not changing. You're still potty training, but the way that you're communicating that is going to change because your customer is changing.
Not everyone has a clear generational line that they're going to cross with their businesses. Some of us are not going to have that at all, but others of us will.
But, don't be fooled, just because you don't have a business that crosses generational lines or has a clear cut change in client direction doesn't mean that your customers aren't changing. Even if they're staying the same, technology is changing. The world is changing and we need to change with it.
And that, but just not just because you don't have the generational change doesn't mean that your customers aren't changing. Like your customers may be changing.
As technology is changing, we have to make sure that our story is in alignment with whatever changes are happening with our customers at that given point in time.
Now let's evaluate how your customer is experiencing the value of what you offer.
Not only do we need to adjust our story, but we need to be thinking, "how is the value that we are offering being experienced by customers"?
Over time, we need to look through a critical lens at what the customer is getting from us, what's the transformation they're getting.
We don't need to evaluate how do we see it, but how do they see it. Evaluating that over time is going to help us solidify our brand.
Why should we spend more time evaluating this, mostly because what value you're providing is going to change as your customer changes.
Boomers potty training a child are getting different value than Gen Xers potty training a child which is yet again a different value from what a Millenial or even a Zennial gets from potty training.
It's not just potty training because they are all different parenting styles.
Warning: Gross generalization ahead
Gen X needs this kid to be potty trained so that I can leave it alone. Boomers are like, I need the older kid to potty train the youngest kid so that I can leave them all alone.
Gen Xers are free range parents. So they want their kids to be potty trained so they can free range parent. You can't free range parent, somebody wearing a diaper.
Us Millennials are like totally in competition with each other. And so we're like, I need my kid potty train so that I can say it was potty trained before that other person.
Just those two differences are massive. The value that I get out of potty training it's going to be different from someone who's in Gen X or a Boomer or a Zennial.
If you're running a small business, you should be constantly looking at your customers and asking , what's the value you're getting out of this and then communicating that back to them.
It's always about what is the value that they're getting and then communicating that value to them.
In this example, you may start out communicating the value of free time. And then, you may end up communicating the value of swiftness, like speed at which potty training happens.
The product or service you're delivering - potty training - hasn't changed.
The kid is always just getting potty trained, but the value that the parent is getting out of it is very different.
You want to be thinking about how to make sure you're aligning the value of what your customer actually gets out of it with their actual motivations.
If you're thinking about this on a regular basis, evaluating it on a regular basis, it's going to make your business brand that much stronger and that much more resilient to market changes.
Each of the processes mentioned here are crucial for us as small business owners.
Those things are going to be extremely important when it comes to making sure that your business is actually aligned and that you are really making really good branding decisions. And these things take a little bit of time.
So each of the things that I mentioned is something that is going to take time. It's going to take a little bit of energy, but once you do it and you get yourself to the point where you are regularly aligning yourself with your customer regularly, adjusting your story, staying in alignment with your customer story regularly, evaluating your customer's experience with the value that you're offering.
And then regularly looking around and determining where you are in your market.
Then you will consistently and always be on brand.
Your business will stay on brand. As I've said, it's better to stay ready than it is to have to get ready. So if you stay on brand, then you don't have to do massive re-brandings and massive adjustments.
You can be making incremental changes as your business is growing.
And as the owner, as the small business owner, the person who is in charge - part of our job is not just to be the person potty training. That's nice, what we need to be doing is to make sure that we're always making our business run the way that our business needs to run in order to be a sustainable brand.
And so we should be spending just a little bit more time developing those elements so that they can always be completely on point .
Now that you have thought through these core concepts, I am going to challenge you to take this one step further.
We have a small business brand audit that really helps you to walk through your small business and determine where you are right now.
It helps you identify your customer's perspective and help you position your brand based on your competitive evaluations.
It also helps you to align yourself through mapping your customer's motivations.
All of these things can actually help you to determine again where your small business sits on the path to actually being a brand.
This self guided brand audit is completely free and available to you at this link: Small Business Brand Audit.
I encourage you to go ahead and download that small business brand audit is completely free. Click the link to get yourself started, and I will see you on the inside of the brand audit.