The keynote speech to the realtors’ association went very well. We reviewed brand building from the 50,000-foot view and covered the seven critical points to building a compelling brand. Near the end of my talk I invited the audience to continue with me at a workshop session where we’d get more practical. If the keynote explained the Why’s and the How’s of brand building, the workshop would cover the What’s.
The session started with a quick brand building pyramid exercise during which I asked the audience to think about their brands’ Points of Difference and their Points of Distinction. I even asked for a few volunteers to share their insight with the audience.
One beautiful woman on the far side of the room — let’s call her Diane (because, that’s her name) — seemed to be having a little trouble figuring out what was special about her company. But after a little thought her face lit up.
“I know!” she said excitedly “We’re special because we…” she paused, not entirely sure if her answer was going to be correct. “We’re special because we communicate.”
I encouraged her to continue. “Please explain what you mean.”
“Well we don’t just list properties or find properties for our clients. Instead we really talk about the deal and the opportunities. We make sure the client gets to really explore their feelings, look at the transaction from every possible angle, and spend lots of time expressing their hopes and dreams, their expectations and aspirations, even their successes and disappointments with properties they may have bought or sold before.”
“All your clients are women, aren’t they?” I asked.
Diane thought for a moment. “Yes, I suppose they are,” she finally responded. “How did you know?”
“Just a hunch.” I said meekly.
Now I know what you’re thinking, and NO, I was not trying to be funny. It’s just that when Diane went into such profound depth about the amount of communication she has with her clients about their feelings I knew that she had to spend most of her time talking to women.
WIFE: “I think it’s time we had a talk.”
HUSBAND: “Why? We had a talk last year.”
So what’s the important takeaway for you and your brand building here? Quite simply that whether she thought about it or not, Diane knows who her customer is and what they want. She has created an All About Them business (and brand) that carefully and specifically meets her customers’ deepest desires. Diane communicates with her clients precisely because Diane’s clients want to communicate and be communicated with.
Now before you point out that by doing this Diane does not cater to a vast swath of the consuming public, please understand that no successful business can be all things to all people. Instead, the best businesses figure out whom they’re doing business with and how to best please those very people.
Porsche doesn’t try to sell cars to drivers whose number one concern is fuel efficiency any more than Bacardi tries to sell rum to teetotalers. Bob Burg, author of the best-seller The Go Giver, doesn’t try to sell books to people who are not interested in evolving any more than David Altshuler, author of Raising Healthy Kids in an Unhealthy World, tries to sell books to people who are not interested in being better parents.
Of course you could simply do your brand building based on what you like and see if anyone responds. But that’s like throwing a dart and then painting the target around it. Occasionally you may hit the mark but most often you’ll be wildly unsuccessful.
The key to brand building, then — which Diane intuitively understood — is to make sure your brand is All About Them. That is, make sure your brand communicates most directly and empathetically with the people you want to do business with.