Ever been to the supermarket last thing on a Sunday, just before they close at 4pm, only to make your way home and then realise, too late, that you forgot one of the main items on your shopping list? Your best hope for recreating Nigella’s latest offering is that your local corner shop is stocking kaffir lime leaves or harissa paste amongst its ancient tins of Vaseline and Fray Bentos pies.
This can happen in the world of business brand design too.
All businesses make mistakes. We can’t be perfect. We can’t always mind read exactly what our customers are expecting us to deliver, and that expectation gap sometimes proves problematic. The occasional apology for messing up or failing to deliver what was expected, is a necessary business evil. Just like the dreaded tax return.
There’s another reason why you should always apologise when you’ve made a mistake. Because it’s the right thing to do. There is nothing worse than silence from a business that you KNOW has wronged you.
If you are a regular reader of any marketing columns or blogs (err, like the one you’re reading now), I am pretty sure you will have come across recent advice about needing to brush up on your storytelling skills!
Storytelling does seem to be hot topic these days. In fact, HubSpot predicts that storytelling will be the most important business skill of the next 5 years.
I think, but I’m not sure, that businesses find hire a marketing consultant difficult.
I’m wondering if it’s a bit like hiring a nanny.
As the founder of your company, you’ve done all the hard work of giving birth to this amazing, living, breathing thing. You’ve spent a couple of years monitoring it like a mother hen.
The day comes when you can’t maintain that level of focus. You’ve got to get some other projects off the ground. You need more time in your day to look after your clients, or manage your staff. You aren’t available all the time to give your baby the focus it needs. So, you start looking around for a nanny (marketing consultant).
Last time, I wrote about the dangers of the ‘cute idea’ that doesn’t always work, and you end up with egg on your face, and LOTS of leaflets in your cupboard.
I also explained how, while it’s tempting to blame the designer, it’s probably more likely to be your fault (#sorrynotsorry). I expect your initial briefing likely wasn’t good enough for the designer to get an accurate picture of what you were after, and how to make that idea work for your audience.
So – you might be thinking – Mrs KNOWITALL, what should I be including when I’m briefing a designer that I’m not saying now, that would make ALL the difference?
Well. Lucky for you, I’ve put together a mini-checklist so that you can get it right every time from now on.
We all have cute ideas. The ones that pop into your head while you are driving your car, or cleaning your shower. You get this cool little idea, something funny, clever or quirky. It might be a business thing, or a personal thing. You know it would help promote your business, or make your family laugh.
Sometimes we get carried away by just how clever our cute idea is.
The bookkeeper – does he or she play a truly vital role in your business or is this just an extra cost for doing stuff you could do yourself, or hand over to your accountant?
We have all seen the adverts – happy, smiley business people walking around pristine workplaces, tablet in hand, keeping on top of their accounts. These ads make looking after your books appear to be so simple, and to be honest the cloud software and associated apps available these days make it a lot easier for business owners to keep on top of the numbers side of their business.
So why employ a bookkeeper?
Back in the late 90s when I was cutting my teeth as a young marketing executive, I spent my time grappling with marketing jargon, trying to get to grips with what it meant. ‘Customer-centric’ was THE latest buzzword at the time (others were ‘website’, ‘email marketing’ and ‘chardonnay’. Odd how time flies isn’t it?).
Magazines such as Marketing Week were packed with ideas and examples of how to make the customer central to the approach you take in marketing your business.
When you say it like that, putting the customer’s needs and wishes at the heart of your business strategy seems obvious. But, lots of small business owners find it tricky.