I came from the corporate world, and I watched “the suits” parade around in perfect business attire. I perceived them to have an air or authority, or ‘aloofness” that I strived to emulate. When I entered into management some 25+ years ago (shhh – don’t tell) I was strongly encouraged not to form attachments or to get to know my staff, because “disciplining them later was going to be hard if we were friends”. So, I maintained that aloofness and ended up developing a reputation among my staff as being unapproachable. (Me – are you kidding!?) My superiors at the time applauded my management style and my ability to keep myself separate from the people I managed. There was no authenticity in that person I was told to portray.
That was then. This is now!
I have learned so much over the last 25 years, and management (leadership) has evolved so much since then. Marketing and branding has evolved as well, and I am thanking God for that.
Authenticity is the new queen. Today we care who the person or company IS with whom we are doing business. We care what they believe, what they stand for, and we, as consumers, have the right to know who is steering the ship. We want all the professionalism and the results (and we have a right to demand that) but we ALSO want to enjoy our experience with the company. Today’s leading companies do not simply sell a product or service well- they create a memorable customer experience.
Your customer experience needs to be communicated in your brand.
Your customers want to know more than that you will satisfy their needs, they want to know they will enjoy the ride.
As I pointed out in my post about using storytelling to enhance your brand, we need to move beyond the traditional marketing of service, product, experience, expertise and distribution and showcase US. What we think, what we embrace and what we stand for as a business. We need to be real and showcase our authenticity.
I had an attitude altering moment early on in my business. I had a business advisor say to me “Lauren, you have a lovely smile – why not let your clients see it now and again”. As a business owner, I fell right back into the “aloofness” that labelled me so many years ago. No more I say, I let my humour out, I share my beliefs, I show the ‘real’ me. And you know what – I attract people as clients that I love to work with.
As strategic and ‘down to business’ as I am when I am working in marketing plans and brands, I have a goofy, fun loving side as well. I am more than a bit of a ham and a ‘smart ass’. I am fast with the sarcasm (as long as it does not hurt feelings), I have a strong faith and I love wine and coffee. I am who I am and THAT is my unique differentiating factor in my brand. Lots of people can work with speakers. Lots of people get great results. There are a multitude of marketing agencies out there. What will make you choose Pibworth in the end? The knowledge that we WILL provide all the results you are looking for – AND that you will have a great time while we do it.
Never forget that who you are is important. Who you are matters.
It matters to me. It matters to your friends and family. And it matters to your customers. Go out and be amazing today!