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Thursday morning, I’ll be talking about branding to a group of small business people for the Chamber of Commerce East Side Council. This sort of thing is always a source of some anxiety for me, because no two of these folks need the same thing. Branding is so personal, ya know.

I think I’ll start by qualifying the group. How many are in retail? How many are in a service business? How many are in manufacturing (not a lot, I’m guessing)?

Then, I’ll probably talk about, “a brand is a promise.” I like that approach to differential advantage—keeps you customer focused. Since I expect that the majority will be either service or retail, I’ll probably talk a good bit about brand manners. It’s the old walk-it-like-ya-talk-it-or-you’ll-lose-that-beat. Probably talk about systemic, coordinated approach to the five senses. Put in my usual pitch for brand smell. Maybe touch on managing/packaging the evidence (invoicing, shopping bags, cash register tapes, follow-up communications, consulting reports). And I might even talk about the role of pricing in the branding of services.

Deep breath. Relax. Okay, it’ll be cool.

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