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203

What Color Is Your Business?


Jennifer Brown, CFP, FChFP

Marketing and branding are about your public identity— 5 with 33 reviews. Then, it has its own very basic website, a
what others think of you and your business. While some That’s Melbourne page, which has a sentence pretty much
may not care what is out there about them, it’s all giving the saying that it is a restaurant and giving its business address.
public a perception of you and your business. Even your lack Then, I found a True Local page that is blank with the words
of presence speaks volumes. It’s all about how you market “Oops we couldn’t find the page you were looking for”—all
your brand. Are you living your brand? review-type pages with nothing much to talk about.
In today’s session, I want to show you the following: But the fifth Google result was actually a blog post on I
• How branding helps control and manage your public eat therefore I am titled “How to Lose Patrons in One Meal.”
identity As the title suggests, the blog piece isn’t favorable and details
• How consistency in branding shows constant reinforce- the many ways that the individuals didn’t enjoy their experi-
ment of what you stand for and believe in and what your ence dining there. This is one company that is not in control
clients and referral partners can expect of its social image, its brand, and its business. Its lack of
• How, if you get the branding right, you can get the repu- online presence speaks volumes about its business.
tation right and become a trusted advisor to your clients So how do you avoid becoming that business?
and partner to your referral sources You take control of your image, your brand, and your
All this can cement your clients as lifelong clients as well as public perception. One thing that social media has done is
make them advocates for your business. After all, we all want make it easier for a reputation to be tarnished rather than
to ensure that our clients become raving fans of what we do. allow it to flourish. More people will complain about a nega-
It also means that referral partners are compelled to refer tive experience than write a positive review, especially if you
to you as they are in line with your views and can trust that haven’t provided anything exceptional for them to write
you will provide an exceptional level of service to their clients. about. So you have to be on top of it and driving it yourself.
Branding is about your public identity, the public percep- Who has googled themselves and their business? Were
tion of you and your business. How many of you would look you happy with what you found?
up a review or get a recommendation before buying some- Here’s what Google says about Jenny Brown. You can see
thing or traveling somewhere new? that of the top 10 searches, five are me, and that includes the
Taking that into consideration, let’s look at a small Italian top three—my LinkedIn profile, plus two articles that I’ve
restaurant called Alpino Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia. written and posted on Google+. [visual]
After googling Alpino Restaurant, I found that it has a We’ll talk about LinkedIn a little later, but one thing you
Zomato rating of 2 out of 5, which is the first thing that need to know is that it’s a very powerful tool for ensuring
appears on Google, and a TripAdvisor rating of 2.5 out of that you rank well on Google. So my tip to you is to ensure

Jennifer Brown, CFP, FChFP


Brown is a nine-year MDRT member with two Court of the Table and three Top of the Table honors. She
is the founder and CEO of JBS Financial Strategists and was named the 2013 Association of Financial
Advisers (AFA) Financial Adviser of the Year. She has more than 25 years’ experience in the financial
planning industry and has a passion for improving the professionalism and reputation of the industry and
those within it. She has served as an Area Chair for the MDRT Member Communication Committee.
JBS Financial Strategists P/L
P.O. Box 7441, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
email: jbrown@jbsfinancial.com.au phone: 61.386.770688 website: jbsfinancial.com.au
Twitter: @JBSFinancialJB

View this presentation in the Resource Zone at mdrt.org or purchase from mdrtstore.org.

©Million Dollar Round Table Annual Meeting Proceedings | 2017


204 Focus Sessions: Marketing

that you build a good LinkedIn profile, with a picture, to At JBS, we aim to be seen as being well educated and
create the first step toward creating your own personal brand. skilled, hardworking and fun! Everyone’s go-to image is
This is what Google says about JBS Financial Strategists. professional, but if you are working in a profession that is
[visual] You can see that the top ranking is our website, professional, like financial advising or accounting, then
followed by Facebook, a Google+ article, my personal there should already be an expectation of that.
LinkedIn, and three directory pages, one with me. This Ask yourself, What sets me apart from the next financial
shows that the cross-referencing is very high between my advisor?
personal profile and JBS. While our image is simple in nature and could be consid-
So let’s shorten our name and see what Google says about ered similar to the next company, we live and breathe it, and
JBS. [visual] Now, this is a bit different as it shows that JBS our clients know this.
is a very large Brazilian company, the world’s largest proces- Consistency and reinforcement of the message and brand
sor of beef and pork. This search brings up our company five is crucial. We use the same profile pictures and include all
times on the top 10, including our website, JBS Team, our our educational qualifications on our bios on our website,
salary packaging arm, and a Google+ blog. LinkedIn, Adviser Ratings, and anywhere else our clients
What all this shows is that you need to be active. You can would look.
control your public identity by having a hand in the traits We also celebrate when a team member completes a new
that the public sees. study, obtains a new accreditation, or wins an award through
The best way to start the process is to determine your our social media networks. We prove every day that we are
image or brand. What do you want to represent? What traits hardworking by having very clear and set service standards
do you want people to think about when they think of you that everyone on the team is aware of.
and your business? We always reply or acknowledge our clients’ inquiries
While you, as a business owner, may want to have a par- within 24 hours, jump onto clients’ questions, and meet with
ticular image, it may actually be different from those in your our clients regularly to update them. And we definitely show
business. For business branding to work, all team members our fun side. This is probably the main theme to JBS as, again,
need to be on board, so you need to include them. Start with we understand that our clients would expect us to be highly
a brainstorming session where you collectively formulate an educated and hardworking. At JBS, we love to have fun!
image or identity that you want your business to be known for. At this point, we often face two questions or concerns.
We did this by having a white board and calling up every The first one is usually, “What if I don’t like what I see?”
word we felt JBS reflected, from professional to fun, educated Well, human nature shows that not everyone is going to like
to reliable, and passionate to empathetic. I’m sure you get the everyone, so if you’re not in tune with our philosophy, if you
picture. don’t like that we show the fun side, then you’re probably not
We then grouped the words that were similar to come up going to enjoy or be happy with the service we provide. So
with this: we’d rather you see our image and make the determination if
we are right for you. This eliminates any time wasting.
Create | Protect | Enjoy—to create long-term The second is those who are concerned that we are los-
wealth, to protect yourself, your family and ing the professional level of interaction with our clients.
your investments, and to position you to be However, we have found that our clients trust us and rely
able to enjoy your success. on us further because we come across as normal, relatable
people rather than stiff money people. We make sure that all
Everything we do encompasses these words, and not only our office antics are included on our social media, ranging
for our clients but internally within the JBS team. It’s what we from celebrating office birthdays with cake and a present, to
stand for; it’s our brand, our motto, and what we believe in. playing foosball on our office foosball table, to playing one of
Whenever new team members start, we introduce them the 1,500 games in our office (and JBS branded, mind you)
to our logo and motto and what JBS stands for. We need arcade machine.
them to understand from the initial employment interview However, we have already set the expectation of what cli-
right through to their interaction with clients exactly who ents will get when they come in to see a JBS advisor. Here’s
we are and why we do what we do. part of our corporate video. [video]

Annual Meeting Proceedings | 2017 ©Million Dollar Round Table


What Color Is Your Business? 205

Every business card, email, letterhead—all material with business?” This is a good thing. Be prepared for the negatives
your details—puts out an image. It all should show your as well as the positives. Perception is that person’s reality.
business identity so that it’s easier for a potential client or Here are examples of JBS branding marketing on our
referrer to understand your business and how you operate. business cards and stationery. [visual] What do you think
Colors, for example, can play heavily into the feel of your of when you see our branding? Our colors? Our concept?
business and the emotional response a person has to it. There Hopefully, you got our purple meaning of creative, imagi-
are heaps of studies on the psychology of colors, and many native, and wise, and the orange characteristics of friendly,
conclude that there are some standard responses to colors. cheerful, and confident.
Red is more associated with things such as being bold You bring through your image your brand and colors
or energizing or having extreme emotions like love or rage; together in your marketing plan. A marketing plan is the
blues are more associated with being cold or with depend- manner in which you present yourself to the outside world.
ability and trust; yellows are calming and warm and emit It doesn’t have to be TV commercials, banner ads on Google,
joy and happiness; and black can be seen as sophisticated or or cold calling clients. When you think of it as the manner
serious and in control. in which you get your image out there, then you understand
These color studies have helped a number of major brands that we all do marketing in some way.
to convey their image. Coke is red, showing boldness in its The biggest key to presenting and keeping a business
brand. Fanta shows that it is confident and cheerful. image or brand is consistency. Whatever you’re doing, make
The Logo Company has put together a rainbow of major sure it’s in line with your image, your brand, and your col-
brands and their logos to show what color they fit into and ors—everything that makes up your public identity.
therefore the image they are aiming to convey. Every time that you interact with clients, potential cli-
But you should also understand that color will also have ents, referrers, or business partners—anyone outside your
its own personal slant for everyone due to their experiences business, really—you need to ask if the interaction reflects
with the color, even if subliminal. As much as yellow is meant on your image. Every interaction counts. For instance, if cli-
to be uplifting and cheerful, if your house was painted a pre- ents email you, the time it takes for you to respond adds to
dominant yellow (which could have easily been the case if the image that they have of your business.
you, like me, grew up in the 1970s), and, say, you had a bad Reply instantly with a templated email, and they might
childhood or had a parent die young in the house, then yel- think they’ve become a number in your business and aren’t
low might not be as cheery as it might be to others. important. Reply in an hour or so, and it might seem like
This means that you should aim for a color that reflects you’re not busy and don’t have too many other clients, which
your image, but be prepared that some people will not have could be concerning to them. Reply days later, and they
the same emotional response as desired. might feel like you’re too busy for them and that they don’t
From your business card alone, can people see what your matter to you. Every interaction adds to your image.
business colors are? What is your branding? From that, do Things that could all contribute to your branding and
they get a feel for the image you want to put out? Color your public image might include the following:
isn’t everything, but it certainly adds to your image, along • Writing in conversational English rather than proper Ox-
with the logo, amount of content, quality of card, whether ford Dictionary English
there is writing on both sides, and if you include a photo of • Keeping the colors of all your materials the same
yourself. The list goes on. But what is your business card • Including your branding in your social media profiles
saying about you? • Using photos of yourself or your team in email footers
Everyone’s opinion is important as it is perception of oth- and websites
ers that counts. You might think that you are showing that • Posting on social media and keeping your posts in line
you are “professional” or “a point of knowledge” or “fun,” with your image
but if that’s not what other people see, then it’s not working. • Sending birthday or anniversary videos to clients
Sometimes, we’re too close to our own business, and what • Sending personalized videos to clients after your meet-
we think others see in us is very different from what oth- ings
ers actually think. We need to take a step back and ask the • Providing welcome packs or happy business anniversary
question “What do you think of when you think/see our gifts to clients

©Million Dollar Round Table Annual Meeting Proceedings | 2017


206 Focus Sessions: Marketing

There are many things that you could do, but more than pictures, then connecting with your clients on Facebook
anything, you must think about the interactions you have might be better for you.
with clients and make sure that they do convey your image. Social media is one of the easiest ways to get your
Keep it consistent. image out. You can upload photos and caption them in
When you do get into social media territory, it can get a way that is appropriate for your clients and your image
tricky. Each platform has its own purpose and use. and include a video such as a message to clients, an update
Facebook is more of a social place, and many people don’t on changes in the industry, or a discussion about some-
want to be professional or sold to here. thing important for your clients, and it can be sent via
LinkedIn is more of your professional market, where different media.
viewers want to be informed and enlightened. LinkedIn has So all of this—building your image, your brand, and
enormous benefits, and as we mentioned earlier Google loves your public identity—doesn’t have to take up all your time,
LinkedIn, an up-to-date profile will help ensure that you are it doesn’t have to consume your daily operations, and it
more easily found in searches. doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Twitter can be used for business, but I find it’s more of a Photos are fantastic. They are quick and easy and can be
conversation- and relationship-building platform. captioned to reflect whatever image you wish to project.
YouTube is a great platform and the second largest search Below are the main takeaways:
engine to Google. • Get other opinions on the image that you are projecting,
Google+ also ranks really well in searches, and if you are and be prepared to take feedback, positive and negative.
posting articles/blogs that are on Google+, it will help raise • Brainstorm the image and brand you want to convey to
your profile. the world. This might take a while to do. Use a white-
Don’t forget your website. Whenever you write a post or board, and go back to it a week later.
blog, you can repurpose it so that it can be used in a number • Be consistent with your image. Make sure that every-
of ways. For example, we have videoed a number of clients thing matches your image—how team members dress,
for their stories to show our prospects and referral sources how they answer the phone, colors, social media posts,
the type of clients that we want to work with. While we were and interactions with clients.
doing the video, we also asked for a testimonial. • Create and build a great LinkedIn profile for yourself,
What we have also done off the back of the videos is to with a quality professional photo, well completed, and
write their story and blog it out on our website and a number with some good recommendations.
of social media platforms. • Put in place a marketing calendar so that you know what
Each item posted to each platform should be tailored to you are doing and when you are posting it.
the environment where it’s posted. So it might mean that if • It doesn’t have to take over your life, but it has to part of
you want to portray a professional image, then you should your everyday life until it becomes the norm. Think about
limit posts on Facebook and focus on LinkedIn, or if you your interactions with others to ensure that they’re in line
want to be a more friendly organization and include personal with your desired brand.

Annual Meeting Proceedings | 2017 ©Million Dollar Round Table