Small business marketing begins with a brand — but not a tagline or logo. If you’re a service-based small business, your brand reflects who you are, what you offer and how you deliver your benefits. Your brand influences who will become your ideal clients, your biggest challenges and — perhaps most critical — the types of online marketing and content creation that will be most effective for you. Let’s look at example from an entrepreneur we’ll call “Belinda.”
Belinda started her business after developing her skills in improv theatre. She wanted to bring the playful, spontaneous attitude of improv to corporate businesses. Her business was named “The Playground” and her website had clever references to jungle gyms, hopscotch and dodgeball.
“I help companies develop a creative culture. I show them that “play” is not a four-letter word,” she said.
At Belinda’s request, I’ve changed her name and the details of her business. But her problem was one that many business owners will recognize all too readily. She’d spent a small fortune – money she could barely afford — building a drop-dead gorgeous website.
Belinda drew lots of “Wow!” reactions from her website. But these visitors rarely turned into clients.
Belinda had even more trouble when she attended networking events. People would say, “What’s your story?” and she’d freeze. When she talked about her business, people’s eyes would glaze over. “Interesting,” they said.
Belinda was going broke. She decided her first step would be to create a new website. “Where do I start?” she asked.
Belinda’s first step was to answer the classic copywriting question: “So what?” Why do companies want to build creativity into their culture? Why do they want to be more playful?
“When a company — or division — becomes creative,” Belinda explained, “they increase employee engagement. Employees become more productive. Teams finish their projects faster and resolve conflicts more quickly.”
There are lots of consultants who help companies increase productivity and manage conflict. Belinda has developed a way to do this — something no other consultant offers. If you want to accomplish these goals with a creative culture, you need Belinda.
Belinda’s brand archetype is Innovator. Once she recognizes her archetype, her path becomes smooth. Her clients will be corporate managers who have tried a number of tried and true solutions that haven’t worked; they’re ready for something new.
Newness can be scary so Innovators need to reassure their prospects. Belinda’s audience will wonder, “How do I tell the CFO that we’re spending money on something playful? How can we get a left-brained engineer to bring a positive attitude to a workshop?” She’ll need to address these points in her website copy.
Innovators need lots of demonstrations to explain exactly what they’re doing. They’ll need stories of clients who applied this innovation successfully.
Most important, they need a story that reinforces their brand — a story that characterizes who they are and what is their archetype. Belinda’s story might go something like this:
“I was studying acting and working on a day job in tech. I was working with a team to implement a project that involved implementing new accounting software. It wasn’t the type of topic that has you dancing on the tables.
“We had to work through a lot of details. We kept running into glitches so everything took longer than we expected. Our team started to fray at the edges. We had a few outright clashes and a couple of people actually stopped speaking to each other. Our boss sent someone from HR to do some team building exercises. When she suggested a scavenger hunt, we all united in one big, ‘NO!’
“I’d been studying improv and I got an idea. I asked if people would be willing to experiment with an exercise where we’d draw something on paper and then talk about it. To everyone’s surprise, even the engineers and accountants agreed to participate. We took the afternoon and…well, we just played. Along the way we started laughing. People opened up about what they were worried about.
“The next day, we felt like a brand new team. People felt refreshed. They came up with breakthroughs. They talked … at least enough to be polite. Since then I turned the process into a repeatable system, and I work with clients to get the same results I experienced for the first time at that project.”
As an Innovator, Belinda knew her website would need videos that demonstrated what she did. She’d need to have testimonials that specifically addressed her innovative approach.And now her website practically wrote itself. She knew how she was unique. She understood what she wanted her clients to remember her — as someone who’d solved a problem no one else could. At the same time, she’d need to clarify what she offered and what the clients needed to bring to the table.
But she knew what she needed. She knew exactly where to direct her focus.
If you relate to Belinda’s story, check out the new Story Consultation. We’ll help you move from story to brand and beyond, in just 90 minutes. Click here to get the details and sign up.
Learn more about the five archetypes and how they can change your business. This workbook currently is FREE! Click here to sign up.