Ken's Blog

Ken's blog is information and tips that Ken has learned over the years of coaching service professionals of various disciplines that he will share with you. His hope is that you will be able to benefit from these experiences and maybe incorporate some of the helpful ideas to improve your efficiencies and effectiveness.

Is Your Brand Getting Mindshare?
April 23, 2014

Mindshare - a controlling or predominant hold of one's attention....

-Merriam Webster-

Would you believe that you are a brand? Well, it is true. Everything that you are and do as a service professional is developing your brand in the marketplace. It does not matter if you are a lawyer, accountant, banker, consultant or one of many other disciplines. We all need two critical success factors to be valued; (1) we must do great work for our clients (2) we must be able to bring in business to our firms.

If you are like most professionals, you have invested heavily in your education and probably have excellent technical skills. But, like many professionals, you are challenged to get a consistent flow of referrals and your business is inconsistent. It is what I call “The Yoyo Principle”. It is up and down with significant valleys.

The key for all of us is to make sure we have what I call “mindshare” in the head of a referral source who has the ability to refer clients to us. It is the lifeline to our businesses. Your competition will be irrelevant to those with whom you have Mindshare.

Remember this. You are probably aware that the referrer has numerous options. So why will that person choose you instead of the others? I know you want to think it is the great work that you do and the excellent skills you have but think again. It really depends on the power of your brand.

To be successful in today’s highly competitive marketplace requires your brand to be in either the first or second position in the mind of a referrer. If you are third or fourth you have little chance. The power of your brand determines your mindshare position. For almost two decades of coaching professionals, my experience indicates that 20% of your brand is utility or the specific skills you have and 80% of your brand is based on one’s perception of you. Marketing is branding. Everything you do contributes to the brand building process.

20% Utility                          80% Perception

Your Brand = (what +why + who) + (presentation + communication + PIP)

Utility: includes what you do, why you do what you do and who you do it for.  You must have complete clarity of your work, the market and market segments that your clients reside, and a clear value proposition to those who are your ideal clients.

Generalists who want to make sure that they get anything and everything, are in essence a generic brand. To achieve mindshare will be difficult at best.

Perception:  the qualitative impact we have on those we must influence to refer us business.  As much as we would like our work to stand for our brand, the fact is, that 80% of our brand is how favorably people perceive us on a personal level. That is, how we present ourselves, how we communicate and whether or not we have what I call the PIP.

People quickly assess us when they meet with us or interact with us. The way we present ourselves has many facets that will cause people to make judgments about us. To start, our persona has to match the brand we want to project. If we come across as tired, sloppy or disinterested, we are sending a signal that our brand is weak. You can have a great product sitting on the shelf but if the packaging is cheap and does not project the right image few will ever pick the product up to look at it. It is important to remember, that if another professional chooses to refer you to a client, they are putting their reputation on the line. They want to refer a brand that will promote their brand and not detract from it.

Your communication style speaks to your authenticity and is important to your brand. People want to do business with people who are real and are comfortable with who they are. They are interested in how genuine you are with your intentions. Is your communication style more interactive and collaborative? The most important thing to remember is not to make it about you. Trying to impress someone with how much you know or how successful you are is an immediate turnoff and diminishes your brand. Intentionally and genuinely make it "about them".

Don't forget to be aware of your body language and eye contact. Let your body language send the message that you enjoy being with this individual and want to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Eye contact is an essential point of communication. The eyes communicate what words cannot. A word is a word but the eyes express the sincerity and passion of what you say.

Does your brand have the PIP? That is, are you purposeful, intentional and passionate about what you do and who you do it for? Don't we all want to do business with people who have the PIP? There is a big difference in doing business with someone who has the PIP versus someone who is simply out trying to make money to pay their bills. It is an essential element of your brand.

When someone mentions your name you want him or her to know that your name is a strong brand and stands for something. Mindshare. Weak brands cannot compete with strong brands.

In their classic book, the “22 Immutable Laws of Branding”, Al Ries and Laura Ries, two highly respected marketing professionals, share that marketing is all about building a brand in the mind of a prospect. Everything that you do contributes to the brand building process. Your brand differentiates you. To be successful in today's hyper competitive environment requires that you have a few key relationships where you are in the 1 or 2 position in terms of “mindshare". Those who rely on incessant networking and collecting cards as a sport have little chance of maintaining a consistent flow of referrals.

So where are you? Do you have a brand that stands out? Do you focus on going a mile wide and an inch deep? If you have a successful brand, you probably focus on going an inch wide and a mile deep with the relationships who can drive business to you. The moment they have the potential to refer a piece of business, your name immediately comes to mind because your brand is strong and you occupy the #1 position. It is all about mindshare!





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