Today I went to Bootcamp. Small Business Bootcamp that is, with Jim Joseph, author of The Experience Effect for Small Business and President of Cohn & Wolfe North America. The focus was how to build a brand customers love. Jim took his popular class from NYU and boiled it down to the basics of building a brand experience that will make people want to spend money with your company.
1 – Define your brand. Know who you are and what business you are best suited to own. Don’t go into retail if you’re not a people person. Make sure your interests and skills play to the business you’ve chosen. Define who your best customer is and why they are your best customer. Every small business must learn that there are some customers you just don’t want or need. Creating a profile of the best customers give you a guideline to follow on where to find more of them. Ask yourself what gaps in the market place can you make money on? There’s big money in niches if you can find the right one.
2 – Get to know your customer. What are their interests? Where do they spend their time? What web sites do they frequent? What do they read? The more you know about your customer, the more you can tailor your products and services to them. What problems do they have that you can solve? What moves them?
3 – Emotional benefit. What motivates your customer to deal with you? What makes you different in the way you do business or in the services you offer. You want your customers to connect with you. Build the experience for your customers that make them want to purchase from you.
4 – Competition. Watch the competition and what they are doing. Keep track of their ads, offers, sales, etc. Don’t miss a competitor because their not your neighbor down the street. The internet positions many more companies to be our competition than just those that are local. Be aware of how their offers are impacting your customer base.
5 – Positioning. What do you want your customers to think about you? Position yourself in places that the competition has missed.
6 – Touchpoints. There are many places today where we can be seen by customers (website, print magazine, social media, billboards, tv, email, etc.). Which methods of advertising and marketing allow you to truly reach the customer and tailor a message directly to them? Here’s where knowing your customer and how they live their life really becomes important.
7 – Consistency. To be the brand that people consciously choose day in and day out, you need to be on top of your customer service game all the time. Your customers need to have a stellar experience every time they do business with you. You need to be memorable.
As Jim Joseph advised, be a benchmark. Have your small business be the trend setter. If you can stand apart from the crowd, you’ll have crowds clambering to do business with you.
Check out Jim Joseph’s book, “The Small Business Effect for Small Business”