Just the other day I reviewed a ‘content marketing’ strategy outline for a VERY large corporate company trying to hiring a ‘connector’ between a professional marketing agency and the company.
Since this very large, unnamed corporate company opened, (not to toot my own horn of course) I made the comment, very often, that they lacked any brand strategy. And we in the professional industry know what that means: no brand = let the world say whatever they want. Let’s face it: if we aren’t going to say anything, we are letting a whole lotta folks talk on our behalf. Branding is hard to begin with. This company had oodles of big names on the board: I was shocked to see they had NO idea what branding was. In fact: when I brought it up MANY MANY times, they shrugged and said ‘we have a brand’. And pointed to how great their website looked.
Now let’s skip ahead 2-6 months later.
They hired this shark of a marketing director who chastised them: held nothing back. “YOU HAVE NO BRAND” she basically slapped them across the face with her ponytail. (okay, she didn’t have a ponytail, but you get it).
Alas, confirmation that maybe sometimes I DO know what I’m talking about. (I’d gloat, but no one is around to see it). When I asked a few internal employees WHY they hadn’t gotten their sh!t together before spending 700k on marketing…they said (no joke)…”I thought we had a brand”.
Mic drop. (me….dropping the mic and literally: palm to forehead).
And cue: what almost every business says.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of companies get it. Staples: the easy button. Great. Understood. Clear. Hell, I STILL can’t move on from ‘can you hear me now‘. Talk about a brand that doesn’t die.
If brand is what people say about you when your back is turned, then companies need to get with the game. What are people saying about YOU???
Let’s talk about marketing and branding coaches for a minute. No — not a life coach. Not a feel good, let’s paint with watercolors and freestyle to the music. I mean a real marketing and branding coach. WHY would you…an amazing entrepreneur or semi-small business need one of ME?
Well, sometimes you need a personal, keep my secrets and tell no one person. There are a few reasons I don’t post about companies I work for. The fact is their words and their business are private. They don’t want anyone to know they have a coach. Hey…I don’t care. I make my money. Secrets or public, does not matter to me. But the benefit is that these folks NEED someone to talk to about why their reputation, marketing, and strategy are not working. To the world, they do not want to lose the status of ‘having their sh*t together. They need a ‘safe place’ to evaluate design, process, and ask the stupid questions without being judged. And…the higher up you are, the less honest folks are with you. I have no problem telling you the truth. (reference, a photographer in Houston who laughed uncomfortably when I got a little mouthy).
Another reason I get called in? They know what to do, but they really don’t know HOW to do what they know how to do. Case Study: the business knows they need video, knows they need to be on YouTube, but when they fire up the iPhone tripod, they freeze up and have no idea how to sound intelligent in 30 seconds. After 4-5 sessions with me, record, review, upload, and boost…and hey! It really wasn’t that bad. The same goes for social media: surprisingly, Instagram help.
I usually get called when peeps want to go cheap. I have no enemies in marketing. In fact, I know a lot of firms that are my friend. I had a business colleague make a comment to me: I’m like a mother bird. I take baby birds or broken birds and help them fly the nest. From there, they have a choice: get a bigger marketing firm or make a go on their own (for the soloprenuer or microprenuer).
The next best reasons are as an entrepreneur, we are often not held accountable. No boss…means no one to tell us what we did wrong. Hey…I have NO problem doing that. And sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes my strategies don’t work. When a small business calls me up and says they need help, I hold their feet to the fire and ask them why they ‘didn’t do what I told them to do’. Then I say very harshly: results vary per business. You only get what you put in. Sorry you spent your money and felt like you didn’t get results. Did you do your homework?
It’s amazing sometimes what I know about random topics…that my clients don’t. I had a girl who was in millennial politics (and she was a millennial) and after 4 hours of research, the next time I saw her I had a ton of questions and info and statistics that she didn’t even know about her own target market. Why is that? Why do YOU own a business and know HALF of what I learn? THIS is why you need a coach. THIS is why people call me. Because I walk you through what’s important and what isn’t about your business. This concept is known as sending and receiving. Your business is sending, and you need to know who is receiving. I help you figure out who is receiving, how are they hearing it, and WHAT they want to hear from you.