Perception: your secret weapon to winning the right clients for the right money
It's a major bummer when you hear someone talk about your business and they're not using the words you long to hear.
I've got a bit of a secret: we've totally been there.
For years we bit back the tears when clients casually referred to us as 'the printers', while our inner toddler screamed 'not printers! Branding agency!'. Stomp. Huff. Cue inferiority complex and a heck of a job attracting people who would bring us the work we wanted.
So what did we do?
We held a mirror up to our business and faced the cold, hard reality that we just weren't sending out the right messages. No wonder people didn't regard us as a branding agency - we weren't creating the right perception. By talking about nothing but print we were telling the world that we were printers - and all the while getting insanely frustrated that we weren't winning bigger design projects. It didn't matter how many gorgeous projects we were doing behind the scenes: it was what the world could see that mattered, and we were getting that very wrong. Kinda obvious, looking back.
What so many people don't get is that branding is more than creating a beautiful facade to your business. It's about using colour, design, language, texture, typography and all manner of other magical facets to build a culture, set an expectation and create a mood which best communicates what you do. And by bringing together all of these elements strategically, you can have a mega impact on how you're perceived - and in turn, how much you can charge for what you do.
And so we rebranded. We launched a new website which showed off the projects we wanted more of. We've completely regained our mojo (and some!) and have taken our business from 'the printers' to a specialist branding agency that gets featured in best selling branding books and regularly attracts work from across the country, as well as fans from across the world.
We know from our own branding journey that a shift in perception will allow you to fling open the doors and invite in enquiries from those dream clients who'll have you squealing with excitement. It'll make business easier, more rewarding and ultimately more profitable.
Sounds good, right?
Stick with me and scroll on down for four pointers to get your brand back on track, and links to all manner of loveliness in the form of related articles that I think you'll love to read when you've got a few minutes spare.
TAKING YOUR BRAND FROM BLAH TO BRILLIANT
1/ Recognise what's not working. How's business going? Are you easily winning the work you want, or is it a bit of an uphill battle? In my experience, most people know whether they're creating the right perception for their business: admitting it is often that hardest part.
2/ Phone up your clients and ask them what they really think. This takes guts! And you may be suprised by the answers.
3/ Recognise the commercial impact your current perception is having on your business. If you're struggling to consistently attract the right kind of clients for the right kind of money, you really need to take action
4/ Make a plan. The lengths you go to will probably be dictated by the severity of your answer to point three. If your current perception is really hurting your business, you'll need to invest in a serious overhaul. Sometimes a few tweaks here and there can make all the difference - other times you need to napalm what you've got and call the professionals. Lucky for you, you know the right people ;-)