I recall reading Malcom Gladwell’s book, “Blink” circa 2005 and have found myself revisiting its central themes time and time again with respect to the power of first impressions on individuals. Humans have largely come to understand the universal truism of first impressions and their impact on how a person will make decisions, establish connections, and relate to a situation in a favorable or unfavorable manner. Personally, or professionally, we are constantly processing inputs and experiences and classifying them in host of ways. We can try to move past the impression that someone or something engenders within us but that seems a lot to ask for by a brand that didn’t present well.
Bias comes in many forms and it is a huge and likely impossible task to account for the entire spectrum given human diversity. Groups have norms, cultures have commonalities, professions have their own characteristics and individuals have their personal expectations, pressures, beliefs etc., that they apply to their experiences and interactions. Some brands can pull off widespread appeal across various markets and segments whereas other have to extensively target and drill into the characteristics of the audiences they want to market to.
High value concepts, such as analysis, expertise, or consulting, have to convey elements that allow people room to establish the connections necessary to choose to move forward in their journey that starts with discovery and ends with a purchase or signed contract.
- Our company provides highly credible, professional products and services
- Companies can trust our research, analysis or expertise
- We employ highly knowledgeable and valuable people to produce our output
- We possess the relevant knowledge and expertise a client requires
- Clients won’t get burned by choosing our firm and our reports, services etc.
- Our offerings are worth what we are expecting people to pay for them
There are other themes that could be presented but the one I want to focus on is the last one, we are worth what we want them to pay us.
If you want people to buy your firm vs the other options and pay the prices you list then there are some important factors to address in how you may appear to them when they encounter you.
Is your branding current or are you still presenting what you did ten years ago? I ask this because I see companies trying to market high priced products and services with a look of a firm that has not kept pace with their markets. How can you claim you are able to look at the future when you seem dated and a bit of a relic from the past? How can you charge premium dollars when you will not invest in your look and presentation? Why should someone pay for data that shows no innovation in the way that it is presented? Putting out basic Excel tables or graphics done in low level programs is bad practice. You may have great analysis, but new customers won’t automatically assume it.
Does your brand look like everyone else out there? I understand that contemporary styling means certain looks, color schemes and design elements will appear across a segment. Being out of alignment can produce a negative impression with some possible buyers but when the branding becomes generic to the point that one firm is indistinguishable from another that is another problem. The commoditization effect inevitably leads customers to have to work harder to connect with a brand and also to an expectation that lower prices are in order.
Does the brand seem active in the customer’s market? The more a firm is engaged in a market means the more content it produces, the more findings it offers and this it likely projects as having more expertise. Can a part time player make a claim they are worth top dollar?
Does the brand have people? Analysts that front their firm and practice make for something more distinguishable than those that do not. The factories that do not have identifiable analysts do not score high on a perceptual basis. When firms present their people, the buyer can more easily connect with the producers and who is doing the work is a key element of research purchase decisions. No practice leads? Bios with no photos or professional background? People without proper experience or history in a sector? Editors who dabble in analysis on the side? Pass.
Do you have a content strategy that engages your possible buyers? When a customer encounters your brand what will they find? Will there be adequate information on products? Clearly expressed and well- articulated findings? Will they find content appropriate for where they are in the buyer journey be that introduction, industry background, archived materials, multi-format for their preference of consumption or something else? Does the firm project themselves as a relationship or a transaction?
Does the offering align with what you are asking people to pay? Aside from the look, image and presentation, the product must reflect the value you are placing on it. Market reports have become commoditized, what do you have that is unique or at least of sufficient quality? Is your process generic or does it reflect standards an excellence? Is your data granular, extensive, and accurate? Do you package appropriately to the segment or buyer? Do you provide too little for the price or try to charge more by adding in things that the buyer does not want or need?
In summation, the various ways in which a provider presents itself will go a long way towards generating revenues. Sure, once in the door a client can be maintained via their experience, how well they account is serviced etc., but acquiring them means establishing connection, trust and moving past their initial objections all in a very short amount of time in order to facilitate business. Someone may buy despite a bad website, old logo, SEO blogs or poorly presented product but how many will not be attracted and screen you out due to better presented choices or perceived value elsewhere?
The good news is that updating your brand and bringing it closer into alignment with your market could be a simple process or achievable based on consideration and some adjustments.
If this article connects with you in some manner, feel free to connect. Discussions always welcome.