Category Archives: Brand Building

Dirty Laundry

We’ve heard it so many times from clients & suppliers… “we’re customer focused… everything we do is with the customer in mind… we’re number one for our clients… you can trust us to deliver… we won’t let you down… yawn yawn etc” Then they proceed to say “But don’t take our word for it, listen to what our customers have to say” then they role out a series of amazing client testimonials which cover them in glory.

Brilliant idea, that’s what you should do, it’s what everyone else is doing so it must be a good idea, wrong, wrong, wrong! Don’t do it, as you’d be wasting your time.

If you want to encourage or build a new client / customer relationship I’m afraid there’s no quick fix, no matter how good your testimonials make you sound, we know you’ve edited out the mediocre or bad ones, you’re only revealing half the story (in fact probably only a 10%, as you’re unlikely to ask every client for a testimonial, only the ones that you already know are going to write something good about you). So testimonials won’t do it for you.

So how do you build trust, how do you get a customer to use you or trust you? The answers quite simple actually, you have to honest with them, you have to be open, but not just saying you are, you have to be truly transparent!

How? Ever used eBay? If you had two sellers selling exactly the same things, same price etc and one had a 90% “unedited” good hit rate and the other had a 100% “edited” hit rate which would you choose? My point exactly, the “unedited” completely open & honest seller.

So if you say you’re customer focused, and you put your customer first, prove it. Ask every single customer to give you honest & open customer feedback, at the end of every project ask your clients to fill in a satisfaction survey… but don’t ask them, why did you choose our product or how good was the project delivery, ask them why would they choose a competitor, what was wrong with your delivery, how could you improve it next time, what other things would they like you to offer!

But here’s the really good bit, if you’re truly customer focused, then put your money where your mouth is, put it ALL on display, hang your dirty laundry out on your website, the pristine white shirt hanging pride of place alongside your socks with the worn out heels & holes where your toes stick through. Nobody’s perfect, so don’t pretend to be. You’ll soon become focused on getting more of those white shirts on your line, that the holey socks will become a thing of the past, rather just hidden away when visitors come round.

If you can be honest with yourself, then you can truly be honest with your customers, they’ll respect you for it and over time, they’re really trust you!

Naked Inspiration!

Why does inspiration come when you least expect it,
or at the most awkward of times? While in the shower, driving to the office, in bed just when you’re comfortable and drifting off… I’m sure many of us have kept (or keep) a notebook or something beside the bed to scribble on when inspiration suddenly strikes in the middle of the night, usually to the annoyance of whomever happens to be laying beside you at the time.

so why is this? is a left brain right brain battle for control? I think it could very well be.

At my office we perform various psychoanalytic tests, usually for a bit of fun, although, insightful personality traits & communication issues are highlighted at times. Anyway I know through years of performing these tests I’m split almost 50/50 (averaging 48% left, 52% right), which may explain a lot about how my mind works (although it’s been said by some that I’m 10% left & 10% right!?)

Of course, I’m a typical guy, I can’t find the butter in the fridge & make toast at the same time, I don’t multi-task, it’s one thing at a time for me, if I’m in the middle of writing a proposal and the phone rings or somebody says something, or distracts me ever so slightly, I’ve lost my train of thought & I grind to halt. I know this about myself, so have adapted to it, when I’ve got something I really need to think about, I lock myself awa stick my iPod on and cut myself off from the world… although this works, it has the disadvantage of cutting me off from other forms of inspiration, which can come in all sorts of wonderful and weird ways. The smallest of things can trigger an avalanche of ideas and brain activity that I have a hard job keeping up & writing it down.

Coming back from a client meeting a couple of weeks ago, I not only defined their Mission Statement & core values & thus their Brand, but I’d also worked out the entire identity, without a single pen or scrap of paper, all in 30 mins, while driving my car!!! Now, if only I could tap into that on a regular basis, I could free up so much time, it normally takes me days of brainstorming & piles of paper to do what I achieved in only 30mins.

So I’m guessing that once the left side of the brain is getting on with the mundane process of driving the car, it lets my right brain get on with what it’s good at, without interruption! or am I completely wrong, does inspiration happen anytime, and it’s only when it’s at an awkward moment that you remember it’s interruption so vividly?

So when are you most creative, or inspired by brilliant thoughts and how do you deal with it… and how do you encourage Ms Inspiration to come round & chill with you on your iPod?

I can’t get no…

Go on admit it, you know you jutted your lips out just then and said “mmm, mmm, mmm satis-fact-shun”

Well maybe you can now… if you have a niggle about something, or want to ask the guys that actually make the products you’re using, check out Get Satisfaction

What better way is there for a company to improve it’s products or services or head off disasters before they happen, than to take part in open discussions directly with their client base. Years ago you’d have paid a research company £,000′s to poll your customers, now you can do it online for pennies! Putting your dirty laundary on display by being transparent & open is the only way to ensure your customer loyalty and build their trust. But you have to become engaged, fobbing them off with pre-written FAQ’s won’t do it, invest your time to engage with them directly, as you’ll earn their respect & gain a follower for life in the process.