Once upon a time, at an Association of Independent Consultants meeting (AIC), [Update: an organization, which, sadly, no longer exists!] we were discussing branding, and how the real and perceived experience with a person or product and service, generates the impressions that create the brand in the mind of your actual and potential clients.
After the speaker’s presentation, I decided to run a little workshop to see how my brand was perceived by the members attending the event (there were some advantages to being the President of the group). The speaker did say, that it is important to ensure that your perceived brand is what you want it to be—perception is reality, after all. And it’s quite possible that the message you think you’re sending to your potential clients is not the one they’re getting or perceiving—which means you need to change your message! And so, a bit of research is essential in seeing what message is being received vs what message you think you’re sending.
Earlier in the evening, we all had a chance to present our little “infomercial” about who we are and what we did and I was curious to see what brand message I was putting across. A number of the attendees had heard the message before but there were several who hadn’t and that’s a perfect group to survey and generate useful feedback.
The results were quite interesting. Most of the reactions were what I had hoped to hear (so I guess my message was getting across) there were at least two responses that I found quite interesting. The first was, that I had a “get it done” attitude and that this was a good thing, certainly attractive to any clients who were procrastinating about getting their books done (and I’m going to explicitly add this to my infomercial any other time I present it.) The other, was that I was a “low cost” solution because I was an expert.
I asked the person who suggested this to explain further. He said, that since I was an expert (or at least appeared to be) that it would take me much less time to complete my tasks than somebody who was less so, and that in the long run, I would cost him less even if I charge more per hour than a competitor at. Now that’s something I had never considered!
It pays to do some research and see how you really are perceived. What’s your brand? What do think it is? Have you checked recently to see if you are really perceived the way you think you are? I’d love to hear your experience!