Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Spell It Out…

Is your business or career potential hampered by misperceptions from people who don’t understand what you really do? Are you still defined by what you *used* to do or what your business *used* to stand for?

The marketing challenge for many of us – especially where we have reinvented ourselves or our business – is fighting such misperceptions in the marketplace where potential customers think we are all about ‘x’ where actually we are all about ‘y’.

It's like the perceptions of one of my favourite cities where I was last week -Amsterdam. Mention ‘Amsterdam’ to people and you’re likely to get one of two responses. Either how beautiful the city is with its architecture, canals and bicycles. Or people will talk about the red light zone and the cannabis cafes. Amsterdam is indeed a brand that suffers from a large amount of people thinking it is one thing, but once you experience the real city, you’ll probably have a completely different view.

So start asking your target audience what they think you do or what do you stand for. That may sound a bit obvious but the feedback will be invaluable. You may have assumed that your website or ads explain what you do, but don’t take anything for granted.

And if you’re reinvented yourself, the challenge may be tougher. It’s like when I worked with the fashion brand Benetton. Mention ‘Benetton’ and so many people think of their provocative ad campaigns (even though that was over 10 years ago) or brightly coloured clothes. They don’t know about the other products, the smart suits from Sisley, the jeans, the kids clothes. And that was my marketing challenge for the assignment I worked on.

So whether you are a big brand, a city, a freelancer or even a job-hunter, start educating your audience about what you actually do – spell it out. Make sure everyone knows what you stand for, why they should hire you/ buy your products/ or use your services.

And don't take the risk that your audience must already know the basics.

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