It’s a simple idea, but one we often overlook: in the B2B world, it’s easy to forget that while we’re creating brands for others, we are also branding ourselves.
I had dinner last week with a print and digital marketing pro. The more we talked, the more I thought about this concept of two-way branding. I’ll “illustrate” the point using a simple painting analogy. (Get it?)
What I knew going into our meeting was that my dinner companion ran a small shop with his wife. I knew they served small businesses in the Indianapolis area by building websites, doing graphic design and providing related digital marketing services.
How many companies can you think of that more or less match this description? Probably several. We need to use a more precise tool to paint this picture in detail.
As we talked I learned about his clients. He and his wife enjoy working with nonprofits and artists, organizations and individuals that have compelling stories to tell. I could tell that they look for this characteristic in all prospective clients: a willingness to delve into discussions of character and driving passions to thoroughly customize their brand.
Now, by looking at how they interact with clients, we’re starting to see differentiation beyond business size and services offered.
The team’s main value proposition is custom artwork. Without divulging any trade secrets, he and his wife’s natural inclination to express themselves through art has been a huge asset. One niche they have found is working with artists and musicians because they have a strong affinity with this group. They know, without question, how to properly brand artists. Consequently, their own brand is increasingly centered on their unique ability to translate business objectives into accessible, yet fine art.
How many marketing shops match this description now?
The journey toward defining our own brand as service providers starts with the mirror provided by the clients with whom we choose to work. Your pool of prospects can often see right into your heart simply by looking at the crowd you serve.
So here’s your homework:
- Take a look at your client list. What does it say about you? Does the brand you thought you had match the one you’ve actually created?
- Take a look at my portfolio. What does it say about me?
Let me know what you come up with. Then I’ll help you build your brand if you help me build mine. Deal?