I want to tell you a tale of two brands - and my experiences with them - that will explain why some brands can charge a premium. It also shows why some brands are better loved than others and what you can do to improve yours.
Like many busy working mums, I order my food shop online. Contrary to what my children believe, food shopping is not a task that I relish. It is tedious. Not least because you have to do it week after week after week (it's so annoying how everyone keeps needing to be fed, right?) Which is why anything that can make the experience easier will be appreciated.
I have used Ocado for years because they were the first company to deliver to where I used to live. And because I had all my favourite foods saved in the system, it was easier for me to keep going back to them.
However, Ocado has two problems. First, if you forget to order your food until the evening, it's unlikely you'll manage to get a delivery slot for the next day - unless you're prepared to wait until 10pm at night. Second, it is more expensive despite claiming to price match. I've been prepared to pay the premium though thanks to the convenience and the fact that they guarantee the food life, rather than giving you a bunch of stuff that is about to go off the day it is delivered (glares at Tesco and Morrisons....).
This week I decided to try Sainsburys online as I'd left it too late to get an Ocado delivery and even my ready steady cook abilities were being challenged (there's only so much you can do with half a bag of cous cous and some baked beans.) As I regularly shop an in store Sainburys and as I have a Nectar card that tracks all my shopping purchases, all of my favourites should be stored in Sainsbury's system. And Sainsburys has a new tool that allows you to import your favourites from another online shopping site. All of which should make it easy. Right?
Except that using the Sainsbury's site is difficult. It's hard to navigate to find the things I want. It's just not intuitive. And once you have things in your trolley and you want an overview of what you've got, it's difficult to get a single view to check what you're missing. If you want to add or delete something in your trolley, the page reloads after each addition, meaning that you have to scroll down to where you were in your list again. You lose your place and it takes an age. As a result, I ended up with two jars of honey and no bread in this week's shop.
But it's not just the IT user interface that is less pleasant with Sainsburys. When you order from Ocado, you get a cheeky text message reminding you that Bob in the Onion van will be with you in the next hour. Just that little message personalises the experience. And when Bob in his onion van arrives, he is smiling and helpful, taking the bags out of the crates, offering to carry them in for you or at least handing them to you. Then he'll ask whether you want to return any shopping bags and will give you a cheery goodbye.
Contrast that with Sainsburys. No text or reminder that anyone is coming. No personalisation. When the unnamed delivery guy arrived he had the crates stacked outside the door and stood back and watched as I wrangled the bags free, even though he could have started to ready the next set of bags as I carried a load into the kitchen. He didn't offer to take old bags and wasn't particularly friendly.
After an Ocado shop, I feel a tiny bit of joy, that hard to name feeling that comes from a pleasant experience and a sense that the world is a friendly place. After the Sainsburys shop, I felt 'meh', just another job ticked off my to do list.
My point is this: A brand isn't what your logo or colour scheme says it is. Your brand is everything that you do - from user experience, to tone of voice use, to quirky additions to friendliness of customer service. And, the easier you make it for people to buy from you, the more likely they are to do it.
If Sainsburys polished up its customer service, made it's online shopping experience more user friendly and added a few clever marketing twists, I'd use it as it's cheaper and it's easier to get a delivery. Hey Sainsburys, I've got some ideas for you if you want them!
You don't need to be a giant supermarket chain to implement ideas that build brand loyalty. Even if you're a solopreneur, if you are battling to differentiate your brand from multiple other similar offerings out there, take a look at the little things you could change to delight your customers and to make it easier for them to work with you. Even a little change could make a huge difference.
If you fancy brainstorming ideas with someone to get clarity on how to differentiate your brand, book my Campfire Clarity session. To make it super easy for you, click HERE to find out more about it or click HERE to email me to set up a free 15 minute campfire chat to find out whether I am really what you need before you commit to buy.
Sometimes when you run your own business, you get stuck. You aren’t even sure why you’re stuck, you just know that you are. It makes it really difficult to try and figure out what kind of help you need because you aren’t quite sure where the problem lies. Sound familiar?
Well here’s an example of a client I worked with and how we got her unstuck.
In January this year I got an email from a lovely lady – Catherine Bowyer - in Australia. Here’s a snippet of what she said:
I have a business in Canberra, Australia where I conduct corporate training and coaching with Government organisations. I also conduct some personal coaching for private clients.
In relation to setting up my personal programs, I'm not really 100% sure of how to progress this. I have the concepts of what I want to do (big picture) and sort of know how they fit together. I get frustrated because I want to be doing everything now, but know I have to take baby steps and focus on one thing at a time.
I have had a website designed, because I felt I had to do something. I am happy with the layout and the look of the site, however I don't think it is very well written and there needs to be so much more done in relation to engaging with clients. I feel pretty overwhelmed thinking about it, because I honestly don't know what I don't know. Funny - I help people get unstuck as part of my business, but find it really hard doing it for myself. So that's where you come in .....
So here’s what we did.
Step 1: Clarity Workbook
Catherine found me as she had downloaded my free Campfire Clarity workbook and she’d completed it. This is a simple way to start getting clarity in your business, so if you need some help and aren’t sure where to start, get the workbook here. We used Catherine's completed workbook as a briefing document for our clarity session.
Step 2: Clarity session
We held a clarity session over skype. This involved a one to two hour call during which we discussed where she was currently at and what she wanted her new business to be. We clarified who her ideal target clients were, what problem they faced and how they felt. Then we looked at the programmes and packages she could offer to solve these problems and how to structure them. We analysed what similar coaches were offering and found her USP to stand out from the competition. Next we looked at the tone of voice she should use on her site and the type of imagery she should have. Lastly we identified issues with her current website and next steps.
What became clear through this process was that there was a mismatch between what she wanted the business to be and what her website reflected. For example:
We decided that Catherine’s USPs are that:
The imagery and words had to capture the excitement, possibility and freedom that women – who she worked with – would feel. I gave her four different imagery approaches to choose from, depending on which resonated most with her.
Step 3: Copy & Canvas
Catherine could have taken the summary document, complete with mini collages of imagery types and reworked her website herself.
But she chose my Copy & Canvas package instead. This involves plotting out a site map, writing all the web copy and creating an image canvas for the entire site. Some people want to have a photo shoot of their own. So for them I give them image types and styles with suggested pictures to include in the shoot to ensure that they reflect the words.
For others who want to buy or use free stock images, I help find those images for them and create a private Pinterest board so that they have them complete with purchase links. My clients can then hand this entire board and all the copy over to a web designer, who can weave their design magic and makeover the site.
Catherine loved the retro images of women who were living happy lives of freedom. She wanted to create a sense of fun and possibility. I felt that she needed to share her own story and her sense of fun and happiness through her site, so I suggested she intersperse plenty of pictures of her in the site.
I wrote the copy based on some of the exact words she’d said in our clarity call. I also took what we’d discussed in our clarity session and helped her shape her packages.
For example, Catherine was confused about how to structure her various offerings. Through the clarity and copywriting process, we created four distinct offerings:
That last one proved our biggest challenge. Catherine wanted to call it The High Heels Connection, because the events would help women ‘step up into success in all aspects of their lives.’ But I wasn’t keen on the name. To me, the high heels bit felt too corporate again. It didn’t say ‘happy’, which is what the rest of the site was trying to achieve.
Catherine suggested ‘Happiness Boutique’, which was a strong contender, but I still didn’t feel that we’d nailed it. I came up with a bunch of different names, with corresponding images and copy to support it. In the end, we both agreed that the Happiness Hive worked, as it gave energy, a buzz and excitement.
By the end of January, Catherine had all of this work done. She handed it over to her web designer to take care of while she focused on her existing corporate clients.
Her site is now live and she is beginning to market it. If you are a woman in the Canberra area or indeed anywhere in the world who needs coaching to live a happier life, do check out her website.
This is what Catherine said at the time about the work I did:
O M G!!! I've just had an initial read through while I'm sitting at the hairdresser and it is looking and sounding AMAZING! You are so talented - taken my garbled messages and woven your magic to make them sound wonderful. I almost cried when I was reading through it - it is really reflecting what my business and I are about. Thank you.
And more recently, this is what she has said about the process:
"Now that I'm several months down the track from the Clarity and Copy and Canvas programs I did with you I can see the real value of your work. Gaining clarity of how everything in my business fits together has catapulted me forward - I bring everything back to 'what is the core message of my business'. I make sure the messages in my marketing, correspondence and even how I speak with people all come back to my core message. You definitely helped me to get unstuck and move forward. Gaining clarity has done more than help me set the direction of my business, it has been freed up my thinking so I can work on the things that really matter. Thanks again for your amazing work! Cxx"
So if you are feeling stuck and want some help moving your business forward, get in touch.