Let's define your practice's brand in a way we can all understand. You are out to lunch when a client passes by and greets you. They introduce you to the person with whom they are dining; you cordially greet them and move on. When the person dining with your clients asks more about you, whatever your client says to them, that is your brand.
Even the largest practices we work with are too small not to get everyone in the game of branding. Start with everyone on the payroll, part-time, full time or volunteer. Each of your team members has occasions to talk about what they do for a living. Most speak to clients and prospects regularly, even those other than the advisor. How each speaks about the firm and how often he or she talks about the firm matters.
We generally refer to the response to, “What do you do?” as the elevator speech. We think this is just for salespeople, but I suggest to you it is not. We all want a clear sense of identity and who we are as an organization. Having a basic script will help your team become more comfortable when speaking about their work in a way that provides cohesion, differentiation and, if there is unity, builds your brand in the community.
At your next team meeting, ask everyone to give their elevator speech. See how it goes. Are they all saying the same thing? Does it flow smoothly, readily and with a sense of confidence? Does it peak interest?
2. GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
What you say needs to be memorable and easy to repeat. How do you make it memorable? Use the art of story. Share a compelling narrative with a vision that people want to paint themselves into.
"I organize the financial have-to's for people and find resources for their get-to's." Now, imagine the two friends at lunch again, perhaps they were discussing their vacations when the topic of finances comes up. Can't you hear the client repeat that first line to their lunch guest when sharing about their experience with their advisor? "He organizes my financial have-to's and finds resources for my get-to's."
3. AD NAUSEAM
Keep saying it over and over each opportunity you get. Unless you tire of hearing yourself repeat the same line over and over, you have not offered it enough. You speak it, so others subconsciously pick it up and use it. I have personally watched this work. It is almost a game to see when someone will use the words you have given them.
Large companies offer brand partnerships like Taco Bell and Doritos. You can do this as well. Sometimes it is a strategic partnership with a law firm or employer. Other times, it is less intentional, but still can be quite influential. Keep in mind that every referral you give, every venue you host a gathering, each person they meet at your office becomes a part of your brand. Be intentional and consistent. If you want to go country, go country; if you want to go luxury, go luxury, but if you mix and match it will create confusion, and you will lose the impact it can make on your brand.
5. STORYBOARD IT
Create a series of rectangles, like a comic strip. Add the script. Sketch the story. Consider how what you are saying is impacting the listener. Write in their remarks. This will shape your vision and help you include the listener in the process. If you are hoping to create a buzz, you must take this vantage point into account.
6. MAKE IT AUTHENTIC & BEAUTIFUL
While we want to have the entire team share the same message, we do not want to be robotic about it. We need to own it, believe it and genuinely want to share what we have to offer as a practice with others. While you need to be true to yourself, you need always to put your best foot forward. Hopefully, you will be your best authentic self every day but, in a new relationship, you may not have a chance to recover from a bad day.
You, your tone, and your genuine enthusiasm are what can make all the difference. If you love what you do and those you work with, this is easy. If not, we may need to have an altogether different conversation.
7. LIKE IT! SHARE IT!
Why do people like and share? Because it is interesting? Amusing? Unique? Important? It’s something they believe in? Consider why someone might like your message. It takes an even higher commitment to go from like to share. They share because of the person or people they are sharing with typically more than because of the person they are sharing from. Referrals are not all about you; they are about the person to whom you are being referred. It is incredibly important to understand that about referrals – it is not about us.
As we enter the holiday season, shine up your elevator pitch and remember to take it to the party with you. If you like these seven simple steps and want to incorporate this branding strategy into your project plan, let us know. Jambalaya Group is here to help you create the best possible practice and to share your message with your market.
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