In an age when so much is made of marketing, and speaking from personal experience, much pressure is placed upon companies to spend marketing dollars. Perhaps it would serve us and our businesses well to pause and consider exactly what we are hoping to achieve when we market ourselves or our company. Are we wanting to create an image for the consumer? Or would we be content to accurately reflect what we really are? All businesses have a brand. Is ours marketing worthy?
Here is an abbreviated version of a story I like to recount, partly because I find it to be an interesting story, but largely because it paints a picture of how I would hope to build my own business. Although the details are nothing but complimentary, I havent the authority to reveal the identity of the main character. It is however, irrelevant. Suffice to say he was a local businessman. Set in an era long before million dollar sales were common in these parts, and long before the advent of the multitude of methods the real estate industry has invented to protect the consumer – my father was approached by a local businessman looking to acquire a specific piece of property.
So Herb approached the owner, who agreed to sell, but stated from the outset that he would not be paying a cent of commission. Herb reported the partial good news back to his client who replied Don’t worry Herb, I will look after you – and so the deal was done. No paperwork regarding a fee, simply an agreement of purchase and sale drafted by Herb, executed by Vendor and Purchaser, and a handshake covering the Ill look after you part.
Two weeks after the deal closed, the Purchaser walked into the office, and handed my dad a cheque for 5% of the 7 figure purchase price. They were not previously or subsequently friends, or even business associates. Simply, the Purchaser did what he said he would do. Some might suggest that as a man of means, being a man of his word was easy. Perhaps. Or, perhaps the Purchaser became a man of means, because he was first a man of his word. In any case, the last thing the Purchaser probably had on his mind was the very thing he did to perfection. He built his brand. In fact, I would assert that he built it so well, marketing was unnecessary.
“When we are rude to a waitress, we are branding.”
Branding is a daily occurrence. We are always branding. When we are rude to a waitress, we are branding. When we curse the referee at our kids hockey game, we are branding. When we drag a paying customer kicking and screaming off an airplane, we are branding. We may not be building the brand we wish to market, but it is the true brand. We cannot hire someone to build ourselves a brand, our actions on a daily basis have already done that. Marketing is simply a broadcasting of that message. If the broadcast doesnt match the substance, the effort (and money) spent will be for naught.
Thanks for reading,