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Articles filed in: Brand Strategy

Say It With Intention


Communication is not simply an exchange of information.

We’re never just speaking or writing to be heard.
We’re always trying to make ourselves understood.

Before you make the call, deliver your speech or write that email, think about what you want the recipient to know and how you want her to feel.
Then speak or type with that intention.

Because how the recipient feels, not only what she thinks, determines what she does next.

Image by Michael Brace

Reverse Marketing


It seems like the most logical thing in the world to build your marketing strategy around the kind of customer you want to attract.

It stands to reason that you can tell a more resonant story when you know who you’re talking to. But when you’re faced with a market of everyone, it can be difficult to pinpoint your ideal customer. An easier place to start is by considering who you’re not for. Who is the antithesis of your ideal customer?

Who wouldn’t dream of buying your product or service, and why?

What’s the message you’d share to convince that person never to buy from you?

When you can tell that story well, you’ll be something to someone.

*Need help getting clear on your ideal customer so your marketing messages resonate?
The Story Strategy Course is for you.

Image by Todd Gross

Rethinking Customer Loyalty

We’re very good at measuring customer loyalty.

We can track how much a customer spends and how often. We know how long they have been with us and have a plan for retaining them. We create premium memberships, gold cards, reward programs and ego boosting voicemails.

And yet, we often overlook one important fact.
Loyalty is reciprocal. It’s a two-way street.

Even in the age of customer empowerment, an unprofessional dentist will overtreat a patient to boost revenue. An insurer will cancel the cover of a client who’s paid tens of thousands in premiums if a single payment is missed. A bank will close a local branch used by elderly customers, who don’t bank online, to cut costs.

If we’re eager to measure how loyal customers are to us, why aren’t we so keen to measure how loyal we are to them?

Maybe it’s time for a rethink?

What if instead of only measuring, rewarding and expecting loyalty, we started measuring how we demonstrate it?

Image by Todd Gross

More Vs. Enough


We’re surprised when a business that seemed to be thriving closes its doors.

The juice bar that succeeded in one location but scaled too quickly.
The online education platform with a big production budget but not enough students.
The great cause that couldn’t attract the support required to create an impact.

Our culture has taught us that we should multiply our effort to maximise our reward. But a sustainable business—one that is viable because it delights customer and creator, alike, doesn’t always depend on exponential growth.

Success isn’t only about doing all we could do.
Often, it’s about doing the best we can do, and being able to do it again tomorrow.

For many of us, that is more than enough.

Image by Amir Appel.

Everything Speaks


Business is picking up at the new restaurant I told you about a couple of weeks ago. Passers-by are poking their heads around the door. They like the look of the venue, the menu and the prices—so they’re giving it a try. I can confirm that the food is good! The owner, Sam, has got the basics right.

But here’s the thing, people don’t come back for the basics, whatever they say. If they did, $20 hamburgers wouldn’t exist. People come for the experience. People don’t just buy what we serve—they buy how it makes them feel. The fundamentals alone don’t garner loyalty.

So, it’s not good enough for the waitstaff to plonk a $50 bottle of wine in the middle of the table and walk away. It’s not good enough that the sharing dishes come without serving spoons. It’s not okay for the bill to arrive as a rolled up till receipt in somebody’s hand.

If Sam wants people to keep coming back, he must work on the experience—the theatre, the rituals and the way he and his team will commit to showing up to serve. They need to start by considering the ‘hows’ of the customer journey because it isn’t just the food in a restaurant that speaks for the brand.

It is:

How the customers are greeted.
How menus are offered.
How the wine is poured.
How orders are taken.
How the food is served.
How plates are cleared.
How the bill is presented.
How customers are farewelled.

Sam needs to design for the outcome he wants, by aligning the experience he creates with the story he wants customers to tell.

What speaks for your brand?

Image by Roman Arkhipov

A Word About Value


How much is an avocado worth?

The answer is, it depends.

It depends on the season, the stock levels, how much the customer wants it and the context in which they are buying or consuming it. Buy an avocado from the market, and it might be as little as $2.50. Mash it up, serve it with egg on sourdough toast, and it can be worth ten times that amount to some people.

And that’s the point. Value is contextual and in the eye of the beholder.

If we’re going to get better at creating and communicating our value, we need to know who our beholder is and what she cares about.

Image by Clem Onojeghuo

Marketing Advice


We’re on our way to buy that forgotten pint of milk late one weekday evening when we spot a brand new restaurant. So, we stop to take a look at the menu in the window.

Inside the place is deserted, apart from two smiling waitresses, stationed behind the double glass doors and one anxious owner polishing unused glasses behind the bar. Before we know it, Sam, the owner, is standing outside the door next to my husband and me, asking us if we’ve had dinner yet.

We can see the fear in his eyes. He looks like an expectant father pacing the floor of the delivery room. It’s been two weeks since they opened and apart from weekends, the place is deserted most nights. Sam tells us how proud he is of the food and how hard they’ve all been working on getting the restaurant open. But we can see that his optimism is waning. He’s beginning to think this might not work. He was convinced if he built it, people would come. But now he’s not so sure, and he doesn’t know what to do next.

What would you do if you were Sam?
What’s the best marketing advice you can give him?
How are you following this advice in your own business?

Image by Garry Knight

Words And Deeds


When we moved to our neighbourhood, the independent organic grocer was a community hub. The sales staff knew locals by name. The fruit and vegetables were plentiful and fresh. And customers were offered food tastings every day.

And then bit by bit things started to change. The owner opened a store in a neighbouring suburb, and it was clear that his focus shifted. The first thing to go were the food tastings. The vegetables didn’t get restocked as often, and the cafe closed early. One-by-one, the regular staff began to leave. Customers no longer experienced the joy of shopping there, and so they left too.

The store was in the same building, using the same suppliers.
The name over the door hadn’t changed, but the story had.

Our story isn’t just what we tell people. Our story is everything we do.

Image by Garry Knight

If You Want To Be Noticed, Start Noticing


We’re always looking for ways to get our customers to notice us.
We spend time thinking about what new marketing channels we could explore.
We work on strategies to get us more exposure.
We test tactics that might improve our reach.

What would happen if we shifted some of our energy to noticing our customers?

How would that change the strategy we formulate, the tactics we use and the impact we make?

Image by Garry Knight

A Word About Product Market Fit

product-market fit
Value creation is the backbone of a viable business. Value is created when the right people, launch the right product, using the right business model, at the right time, for the right people. We call this product-market fit. We have the best chance of succeeding in the marketplace when all of these factors are aligned. Each one plays an equally important part in the viability of a business.

It’s no good making an incredible product that nobody wants to buy. But it’s equally important to discern who you can deliver value to and serve best. Just because someone has the money to pay for your product doesn’t mean they are your right customer.

Thriving businesses are the result of product-market fit. Happy founders and fulfilled teams are the result client-business fit. Successful businesses do great work for good customers. The pickier you are about the work you do and the clients you serve the better.

Image by Garry Knight

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