We often refer to brand as the clear, powerful, positive thoughts you want your audience to have about you. However, despite what you want your audience to see in you, it is their actual experience that will determine the brand they place on you.
When a prospect has accepted a meeting with you, they form pre-conceived ideas of what that experience will be based on similar experiences they have had with other brokers. Then, when the meeting takes place, they spend their time looking for ways to reinforce what they had pre-conditioned themselves to expect. When they recognize messages in your presentation that they’ve heard before, they tell themselves, “I knew it; they’re all alike. Why would I go through the hassle of making a change?”
Fortunately, you are able influence and alter what they actually experience.
Your brand, and the communication of that brand, is your opportunity to prepare them in advance of your meeting to be looking for what it is that makes you different.
By doing so, when they hear the different message you bring, they are able to say, “Oh, that’s what she was talking about. I’ve never heard that before, but it makes sense. Maybe she is different.”
By communicating what you want your audience to see, you have now given them an opportunity to recognize and focus on your differentiators. By doing so, you give them the opportunity to make those differentiators the focus of the brand they assign to you.
I know this sounds obvious, but if you don’t prepare them to be looking for specific differentiators in advance, they will look right past it in their attempt to identify what is familiar to them.
So, where does this brand message have to exist? EVERYWHERE
Your brand has to be a very intentional part of the messaging you take to your prospects in every communication and in every interaction. It may start with your website and your blog and your tweets but, marketing and sales materials are only the start.
While the marketing and sales materials can help establish your brand, the only thing that can sustain that brand is the actual client experience. It is the experience that will ultimately determine your brand in the eyes of the customer. If you reinforce through actions the same message you proactively communicate through words, that brand will continue to become more deeply ingrained and much more clear in the mind of your audience.
However, if your actions conflict with your message, the brand your clients assign to you will become fuzzy and will eventually become whatever is being communicated through your actions rather than your words. As our mothers always told us, actions do speak louder than words.
Photo by Harry Cheng.