Your 'brand' basically drives what people say about you when you're not in the room. Are you thinking... argh?

  A few years ago I volunteered to be in charge of marketing for the committee for a health and gym club. I had been a member for the previous few years and I played squash with one of the other committee members. He asked me to come along and sit in on their month meeting. They were badly in need of new members and didn't know where to start marketing themselves.

  During my second meeting, I horrified them! I had put together a branding report in my own time, and I wanted to use it as a basis for change. I had visited the club a few times with my camera and my notebook. The clubhouse was in bad shape and needed repairs and redecoration. It had a bar and restaurant, exercise rooms, a gym, tennis and squash courts, and changing facilities. There was peeling paint, mismatched floor coverings, old recycled furniture, and generally the place was dark and dismal. 

  I showed the committee members photos and read my report. They had all 'seen' everything I had recorded, but over the years had disregarded it. They had just walked past the old sagging sofas in the bar, pushed open the doors which needed paint, and didn't bother to look at the notice board with postings that were well out of date. 

  I drove the discussion to talk about the club that NEW members in the area would want to come to. A safe, clean environment for families and children. A nice place to sit and relax after working out and somewhere people would enjoy spending time in and buying drinks and food. Somewhere that was appealing, attractive, and where they might tell their friends about.

  So we made an action plan, and within three months we had a cleaned up, beautifully repaired clubhouse, newly restored gym areas, newly surfaced playing courts, and easier parking arrangements. We also marketed the club at local schools and gained new members through local flyers, social media, and referrals. Membership quickly grew... extra cash was generated, and the club was better looked after.


How is your branding?

  Think of your business in the same way. Do you look consistent across all your marketing efforts? Can new prospects trust you to do a good job for them or guarantee what you sell? Can your prospects understand what it is that you're trying to sell to them?

What do people say about you or your business when you're not in the room?

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