Thursday, November 20, 2014
You can draw as many logos as you like. You can come up with a dopey name nobody can spell. And I suppose you could call that branding. God only knows that most of the industry does it that way.
And then there are those who confuse branding with awareness, which is another misconception I could never understand. Especially when advertising and marketing and public relations people whip out their charts and exclaim, "Look at how high your aided awareness numbers are!"
For the record, aided awareness is the most notorious loser in the Advertising Hack's arsenal. The term refers to people who recognize your brand after you've helped them recognize it. There might be a more pathetic statistic out there, but I can't think of one just now. Unaided awareness is only slightly less anemic. I mean, what's the point of everyone knowing who you are when they don't know why they should know who you are? That never made any sense to me, but I'm sure it's confuzzled a lot of clients.
There's a lot about branding that people simply don't know. They like to cover up their ignorance by making it far more complicated than it has to be. For those people, let me make one thing excruciatingly clear:
The whole point of branding is to make more money.
That's it. See how easy that is? The bottom line is a brand's most important deliverable. If it's not increasing profitable revenue, why even bother?
And yet, I watch as a whole world of social media, business development services and networking tools flood the web space. All kinds of new technologies and applications, seemingly designed to take your money and promise to help grow your business. You can pay people to blog for you. To post to Facebook. To tweet and whatever the verb you use is to keep your Pinterest and Instagram accounts up to date. There's no shortage of sites that want to link you to everyone else who wants to link to you, but nobody seems to be able to generate revenue from any of it.
So maybe it's time we got back to basics. If it's really new business you're after, maybe you should take a cue from Clint Eastwood in this classic clip from Magnum Force:
See how easy that is? Who needs digital technology when all you really have to do is contact the prospect and ask for his business? True, not all prospects are easy to get to on the first bounce, but you'd be surprised at how many truly are if you simply try knocking on the door. Dialing a phone doesn't require an engineering degree and I'm fairly sure sending an e-mail isn't much tougher. The trick, of course, is knowing what to say when the other guy picks up the phone.
Years ago, I had a conversation with Burt Sugarman. If you don't know Burt, let me save you a ton of Google time and tell you he made a ton of dough producing early rock and roll television shows and then went on to make several tons more while marrying Mary Hart. One day, as I was struggling to launch my own business, Burt was nice enough to lend me his ear. I asked him, "How do I get in contact with higher end clients?" He just cocked his head and asked, "Have you tried picking up the phone and calling them?"
See how easy that was? And he was right. One of the big myths of digital services and social media is that it sells you the promise of business-made-easy, which rarely, if ever delivers. The fact is you can't offload your new business duties by paying your way out of them. It simply doesn't work. At the end of the day, nothing beats cutting through the bullshit and simply reaching out to the guy you want to meet.
It's not only more effective. It's a lot cheaper, too. After all, what does a phone call cost? And e-mail's even cheaper.
So now that you've paid your fees and gotten nothing in return, if you're really serious about developing new business, junk all those digital diversions and follow Clint's advice.
Try knocking on the door.