It packs a wallop!

Imagine yourself the owner of a pink-and-white dog grooming boutique.

Puppy Pampering by Paulette, let’s say. (Must we? Bear with me. To create Maximum Customer Experience, sometimes we must imagine such things.)

I meet you at the every-other-month Chamber of Commerce luncheon, and I mention my new Wolfhound puppy. We get to talking about shampoos and puppy brushing, and you and I hit it off, so you hand me your card. You know, the one with the blue-cloud background and the cartoon dogs with the kid typeface that was oh-so-cute at the U-design-em business card website. It’s not much of a card, but you seem like the kind of person I’d love to drop my dog off with. So what about the cheapo card?

Well, I’m kinda busy, so I forget for a while about treating my dog like the itty-bitty princess that she is, even though I drive by a shop with big sunny windows and a no-nonsense sign out front every morning on my way to work: no name, just Dog grooming, reasonable rates.

Every week I see an ad in the paper for half off doggy manicures. There’s a blurry picture of a frolicking dog, and a fun distressed font telling me to mention this ad. But I’m kinda busy (well, okay, I’m doing the crossword when I see it—I count that as busy), and whenever I do think of dealing with her unruly fur and that itch she seems to have developed, I wonder where your card went. You seemed so nice. The kind of person I want to give my money to.

The Chamber of Commerce luncheon rolls around two months later, but I’ve got a client meeting. The next one, there’s a speaker I don’t want to miss, so there I am—and hey, there you are! I forgot that this is where I met you!

I remember your face but I can’t remember why. Then you come up and ask me about that Wolfhound of mine, wow, she must be growing, and it all comes back to me.

“Can I get your card again? I’ve lost it and I must have thought of getting in touch with you a hundred times, but you know how things are….”

“Absolutely. If you ever lose the card again, it’s easy. I’m right on the main drag—”

“Jeez, I’ve only seen one groomer there. That one with what they call ‘reasonable rates.’”

“Yes! That’s us. And you can always get our number out of the paper. We’re in there every week with a coupon.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen that.”

“Next to the crossword, every Saturday. We figure people stare at that section for a long time.”

Sure, I’ll probably do business with you now. When I get to the place I’ll see that the big picture window brings light into your pretty pink-and-white boutique. While I’m in the place, talking with you again, I’ll be sure my dog’s going to get the care she deserves.

But you took four months to hook me. And a lot of other folks aren’t going to have those personal interactions outside of your working hours.

Those folks, you’ll never get.

Well, Paulette, now imagine you’d handed me a card as cherry-blossom pink as the store that first time we talked. With a fanciful typeface, far from my workaday life, that just begs for busy mommies to bring in their doggies and show them a little extra lovin’. An illustration that reinforces the message again.

Imagine the outside of your store is as welcoming and full of personality as you are when I meet you at the mixer. Imagine your signage dovetails perfectly with the card I’ve got in my pocket. Name. Typeface. Upscale image. Colors.

Imagine that newspaper ad fits into the plan as well—right on message for those dog-mommies who can’t resist spoiling their critters, and integrated, once again, with everything else I’ve seen and what I know about you.

I’m going to mess with your dainty image now, Paulette, because here’s what you’re doing to your Ideal Customer when you send one message to me at every point of interaction:

BAM!

Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Left cross, right jab, and before I demonstrate that I know as little about boxing as I do about dog grooming—

Knockout brand punch!

How to deliver a brand punch that shortens your sales cycle:

1. Look (visuals, image)—Be consistent across all platforms. We could have gotten more complex and thrown in your website, for instance, and plenty of other points of interaction as well (packaging, uniforms…).

2. Message—Speak to the Ideal Customer. As a small business, you don’t have the time or the money to do complex campaigns targeting fifteen segments. Speak only to that person, and folks who can relate to that person will also be drawn in. Speak to 15 people and no one’s drawn in. Don’t miss an opportunity to describe how you’ve got the Ideal Solution to her pressing problem.

3. Voice—Related to both of the above. The distressed grunge typeface might be fun, but it “speaks” to the wrong people, so voice can sometimes be a visual. Should the signage out front sound insecure, mentioning “reasonable rates”? The coupon in the newspaper may also speak in the wrong voice… should upscale boutiques be offering a coupon every week?

But it was cheaper not to do the exterior. The ad was done up by the newspaper people. And I got those business cards for free just for letting them send me some spam!

Paulette, It took me four months to do business with you. And I wanted to. (When I thought of it.) Integrated Experience isn’t a frilly get-around-to-it-someday expense. It’s your critical business tool to get customers saying:

“Oh! I’ve seen them before.”

“I remember them. Wonder if they’re good?”

“Well, they’re everywhere. That counts for something.”

“It gives me a smile every time I see that pink-and-white building… Fifi could use a shampoo and a trim.”

BAM! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Knockout brand punch!

In the comments: Got any crazy stories of a company like Paulette’s that took forever to hook you because you couldn’t see how their look, message, and voice were supposed to work together? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

 

P.S. No Wolfhounds were left itchy in the making of this story.

P.P.S. You’re invited to get some brand punch into your company website today choosing VisionPoints’ Website Audit or Web Experience Solution. We’ll work on your left cross, your right jab, and the sweetest upper cut you ever saw. Or we could just skip the boxing stuff and help you make more sales.