David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Run DMC, Public Enemy all had something in common. It doesn’t even matter if you listen to their music, or have at some point. Every one of these artists had the ability to make just about anyone stop, look, and listen. With Bowie you were somehow mystically transformed from fan to follower instantly, compelled to view the oddity of his costumes and hear the voice coming from his lanky frame. He grabbed our attention and he held it, didn’t he? What about Run DMC? It was the shell toe Adidas with no laces, the derbys they wore and dark rimmed glasses. But those little nuances, are what most small businesses miss when creating a marketing piece and an image for the world to see. Grabbing the attention of potential customers is where most small businesses fail today. In fact most don’t have the faintest idea of the importance of standing out in the crowd.
Have you ever wondered why so many businesses fail in their first year? Where there are many reasons why, the biggest reason would appear to be that they never got the attention of their potential patrons in the first 3 seconds of contact, directly or online. In the case of artists like Prince, and guys like MC Hammer (Yes I know I’m old!) you were stopped in your tracks by the bright colored Cavaricci’s, sculpted hairdo’s, and sharp looking shades, or the way these men danced. Truth is, this isn’t anything new. I mean just look back at all we have re-created in movies / shows based on Medieval Times. There are characters that might be dressed a certain way, be ugly (by design), or a little of both. It could just be their elaborate costumes, or a sword that marked them as a knight. The point is, you were drawn to them, and they got your attention.
I honestly don’t see many standouts in my travels. Businesses that hit me upside the head with a brand that stuck with me, that is. There are a few, though for the most part I see “boring”, run of the mill images that do little to grab my attention. I push on. Business owners must understand that 75% of those that search for them, will do so via mobile device. And that first 3 seconds is critical! If your website takes too long to load, it will fail to convert. If your website does not compel visitors to take action immediately, you will find yourself invisible online, with competing businesses getting the lion’s share of what should be going to you. If the sign outside of your business is a simple lettered sign, with no images, studies show that passers-by will choose businesses with images instead.
So how does this all fit into your particular business? Truth is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a plumber, or the owner of a muffler shop. You must jump into the middle of a crowd with an ugly red sweater and a megaphone if needed. You must realize that times are changing, and that your consumers are busy! They want to know what makes you better than the guy down the street (with similar services or products) and you have to tell them straight away and direct them quickly. You need to stand out somehow. McDonalds permanently branded the golden arches into your mind. That is exactly what YOU must do with your brand!
Do you remember the slogan: “When you’re here, you’re family”? Olive Garden. Well it worked for a time because it made consumers curious. They failed for other reasons, but got their shot by insinuating that Olive Garden treated you like family. You believed them to some degree, didn’t you? Curiosity comes before interest, and you were at least mildly curious, and so you tried their food, didn’t you? On the flip side, as Americans we’ve heard all the stupid, generic slogans ad-nauseum. “we’re professional, prompt, and we love your pets!” Whatever! “We really care!” Yeah sure you do, just like all the rest! Tell me something about you / your business that makes you great, and wear a giant purple hat while you do it. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter if you did it in pants that were a few sizes too small, and your belly was hanging out. People remember those things. Consumers remember those things. If you sang in a commercial wearing nothing but an athletic supporter with a belly and had a terrible voice, your consumers will remember. The point is, you have to find a way to stand out. Here is an old commercial on YouTube, for a Plumber named Jack Stephan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6PtHagsJMc The ONLY reason I am posting the link, is that after seeing it numerous times on TV, my then 6 year old daughter was walking around saying “Stephan! Jack Stephan!”. That’s branding, even if a 6 year old remembers.
So what will you do about that boring lettered sign outside your business? What will you do about your cookie cutter, run of the mill, common, template based website? The wrong thing to do is nothing! And with those questions being asked, how did you fare with regard to your profits this year? Are you up, or down? Honestly! If you’re up, I’ll wager you already know some of this stuff, and probably understand the importance of being a standout. If you’re down, don’t blame the economy, your emergencies, your car repairs, or your kid’s tuition. Take responsibility for HOW YOU APPEAR to your potential clients, online and offline. Don’t be lazy about it. Apathy will absolutely KILL you at this point, so get a plan together if you’re not happy. Aeon has partnered with some of the greatest minds in the Marketing field. If you need a new look, flavor, slogan, there really is no better time than now. We offer stability for the business owner, a clear direction, path, and unmatched value industry-wide. But you must call us to start that ball rolling. I look forward to speaking with you personally, and helping 2020 become one for the record books. And as usual, our support is unconditional. With just our complimentary tips alone, you can begin that journey to stand out locally and organically.
That’s it for now. Until next time, I hope you flourish beyond your dreams and that you take others along for the ride as you succeed.