Pitch Perfect Branding

Jo McKee - Stories
Story sells.
Well, you bloody well knew that. You ARE in marketing, of course.
But why? And what does that even mean for the ‘little guy’? How do put your finger on whether a potential client can build a decent brand?

First, each of us – in all parts of our lives – are looking for a connection. For that ‘hey, you get it’ type of feeling. For expression. Your client’s customers just want to know that someone gives enough of a shit to see them.

Think of the ratbag kid who stops punching other kids up on the school bus when a decent adult starts to give them some time and treat them like a human. They just needed someone to see them. Or the shy colleague: head down, efficient, quiet … but when you get them talking about the one thing that matters to them, you’re in.

Customers are simply a bunch of individuals looking to feel better about something. Aren’t we all? Giving people the attention they deserve is, in a wider sense than branding, just plain kindness. In business, it’s also very smart.

I write this because, with the barriers to entry for online business almost non-existent, it’s almost become too easy. Throw a site up, load it with SKUs, and GO. Tech has allowed a clutter of junk and it’s time  – for their own sake and the sake of our newsfeeds – that the ‘little guys’ put thought into their brand.

The people and causes and companies that do will find those amazing things start to happen.

Jon Taffer says that in business ‘We live and die by the reactions we create’. And don’t for a minute think your client should create that reaction in a vacuum, then expect their customers to experience those reactions as prescribed. In reality, they’ll lay their plans, observe, listen, loop back and refine. And then loop back. Observe. Listen.

They’ll edit their brand story, just as a book or a movie is cut back.

How do you help a client get this right?

Find the essence of what matters to your client and their team.

What the?

Have them understand themselves.

If you haven’t met The Iconic yet, allow me to introduce you.

The Iconic realised their passion – with team members from 38 different countries and backgrounds – is diversity.(i)

“We decided, consciously, to go full force on diversity and inclusion when it came to model selection. We decided to have curvy models and different ethnic backgrounds, different sizes, genders and ages to try to cover the whole representation of the Australian population and the global human population.

“We had people wanting to buy a bikini from us for the first time ever because they had the feeling it would fit their body shape. In the past, they felt like they couldn’t which really surprised us.”

-  Alexander Meyer, Mumbrella’s Retail Marketing Summit, Sydney


Once the team at The Iconic just looked at each other’s experiences, their unique selling point – their brand’s foundation – flowed easily.

At our agency, we become deliriously happy when our clients invest time and resources into this mission of identifying themselves. Launching ad campaigns becomes addictive as we see the click-through-rates skyrocket and even Top of Funnel engagement ads pulling leads. And then we see the clients’ happy new customers get back to the ads in their newsfeeds and add comments about how much they loved their trial session, taking the social proof up a level.

How do you know if your client is passionate about building a quality brand? I’m sure you know from teeth-gnashing experience that if they’re not serious, you can bring them all the customers they could hope for and none will spend a cent. So this kind of matters at the outset of your agency-client relationship.

I like the way Richard Plepler (CEO of HBO) described a similar process as he recalled a meeting with Reece Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman:

"A good pitch is when you can see someone is breathing what they are presenting, as opposed to saying it. They breathed this story. They understood the material. They had organic intuition."

You’ll see passion without the hard sell. You’ll be speaking with somebody who can share the story of their business with power and drive. And if the numbers back up that story, you’ll know to jump onboard.

We’d love to hear your experience in creating a brand – both for yourself and your clients. You know where to take the floor … 👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽



(2) ‘The Weekend Australian Magazine’, March 21-April 1 2018, p 19


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