If you're ever lucky enough to have a fun and focused dialogue with David Avrin, there's a pretty good likelihood, he might ask you, "What are you doing to be noticed and remembered?"
If you have a tough time answering this query, then David's the right guy to help you respond eloquently and strategically, the next time this question is tossed in your direction! He knows all about getting positive attention or creating the "right kind" of visibility. When you meet him, he's immediately "visible."
David stands well over six feet, with a big smile, friendly welcome and a firm handshake. Plus, he's always armed with an entertaining story!
For years, as a speaker, author and coach, David has been helping individuals and organizations raise their profile to stand alone in a competitive marketplace.
His clients enthusiastically and gratefully refer to him as the "Visibility Coach." He waxes rhapsodic about his passion for helping folks do the right things to produce the right results in his bestselling book, It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You!
Here are edited excerpts from a conversation with my friend, David Avrin.
Jeff Blackman: Everybody wants to build their brand. First, let's define what "brand" means. And how do you build it?
David Avrin: Too many think of their brand as simply their company logo and tagline. But the reality is, your brand is what people think of at the mention of your name or the name of your business.
It's everything you do and don't do well in your business. It's the last experience a customer had, the cleanliness of the bathroom, the taste of the appetizer, the speed of delivery and the attitude of the customer service rep.
If you've done a good job consistently communicating your messages and delivering on your promise, then the brand in their mind is the one you want. However, if you've fallen short, then you’ve got a brand in need of repair.
JB: You say, "We have no control over our brand, but we have great influence?" Why? And how do you maximize that influence?
DA: Your brand resides in the minds of your customers, or prospective customers and they only know what they know. If you have low marketplace visibility, then they know little of you. If they have had a bad experience with you, then they own that memory.
We can influence their perspective of our brand by doing good work, fixing problems quickly and clearly highlighting what separates us from our competitors.
If we're passive and let our work speak for itself, or allow competitors to out-market us, then we lose control of the message and the brand.
JB: What are sure-fire ways to become "top of mind" with prospects and customers, in any business?
DA: Some take the shortcut to "fame" by merely opting for outrageous ads or stunts to draw attention to their business. Unfortunately, the quick fix does nothing to build a brand based on credibility and quality.
The truth is, to become top-of-mind, you have to creatively highlight what makes you different, better, cheaper, wiser, smarter, cleaner, bigger, smaller, faster, more attractive, stylish, cost-effective, convenient and more desirable than others who profess to offer what you offer. Then you have to promote the heck out of your differentiators.
JB: Since all things are "never equal," how does one tip the scales in their favor?
DA: The four most dangerous words in business are, "All things being equal." When everything is equal in the mind of the under-educated consumer, then they will make their buying decisions on two criteria: price and proximity.
Who really wants to be the "low-cost leader?" There has to be a reason to tip the scales in your favor.
Prospects have to be made very aware of at least one aspect of your business, they can't get elsewhere. But the claim has to be credible and visible. They have to hear it, before they know it. And they have to believe it, before they act on it.
JB: How can one accurately assess their business to discover, then communicate what makes them unique?
DA: A dedicated effort of inspection, introspection and marketplace evaluation should be a regular exercise for all businesses. Meaning:
• Research your competitors.
• Research your customers and revisit both their needs, and your capabilities.
• Peruse your marketing materials alongside those of others in your space.
• Where are the similarities?
• What can you offer that others could not legitimately claim?
• Most importantly, ask your customers why they buy from you and what keeps them coming back.
JB: What are some classic marketing blunders? What can we learn from them?
DA: The most common mistake is using the same words, claims, or boring, generic descriptors others use to describe their products or business. For example, in every market, there's a company that claims: "Our people make the difference!" Really?!
Of course your people may be smart, talented and valuable, yet...
Were they whisked-away from their parents at age five to a super-secret, customer service training facility on a remote island? Or are they just like the people your competition hires?
Sure, you may have different training methods, policies and procedures, but people are people. Stop pretending your people are your distinct competitive advantage. They aren't! Stop making meaningless claims. Or the same ones made by others.
JB: Who's really good at getting noticed? What we can learn and apply from them?
DA: The best marketers are the names you already know. If you don't know their names, then they've done a poor job of promoting themselves. The best are the ones that'll come to mind by merely mentioning the tagline or the category. Think of:
- guaranteed overnight delivery
- chocolate and peanut butter – together
- military-style SUV
- party-girl heiress
- America’s past time
Getting the picture?
It's about owning a category in the minds of your prospects and customers. What can you do or say that could be attributed to you, and only you.
To learn more effective strategies to help you do or say, what you do or say, visit www.visibilitycoach.com.