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September 24, 2013

Details matter… are you paying attention?

pick 2BI’ve blogged before about the local coffeeshop that I frequent – The Good Cup in Franklin, Tennessee.  I’ve described it as a real social networking site because I always run into old friends there and it gives me the chance to catch up.

A month ago, my son and I ran by for some coffee and a chance to spend a last few minutes together before he headed back to college.  I ordered a cup of coffee and he ordered a drink that needed to be made by the barista.

His order got dropped and when they finally brought it around, they apologized for the delay and gave my son a coupon, good for a free drink on his next visit.  Take a look at the coupon in the photo… it’s a guitar pick.  And I thought it was fantastic…

  • Clearly, it’s unique.  Ever seen a guitar pick coupon before?
  • Also, it’s an outstanding representation of their brand

How does it represent their brand?  First, it has their logo on it.  And secondly, it’s a guitar pick!  We’re in Music City (Nashville, TN) and they often have live music at the coffeeshop.  It’s the perfect coupon.

So it got me to thinking about our industry.  Do we pay attention to the little details like a guitar pick?  Does everything we do reinforce our brand and message in the marketplace?

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about the details at your firm that can impact your brand…

  1. Your business card… in today’s online world, it’s one of the few tangible representations still left of a company.  Make sure yours is great.  Idea: use the back of the card, too.
  2. Your email signature.  Make sure it boasts your logo and lists your email, phone numbers, website, blog, LinkedIn page, Twitter page and so on.  Idea: always showcase a special offer with a link to your website (e.g. “Click Here to download our latest whitepaper.”)
  3. Invoices and statements.  Like your email signature, make sure it includes your logo, contact information and even a special offer of the month.
  4. Your voice mail message.  Does your say something like, “Hi, this is Steve Henke.  I’m not available right now, so please leave a message at the tone… BEEP!”  Or do you take the chance to reinforce your firm’s name and a brand message?
  5. Handwritten thank-you notes.  Sending handwritten notes after a meeting, presentation, referral or just out of gratitude for a client’s business can help to differentiate your firm more than almost anything else… because no one does it anymore.  Make sure the note paper has your logo on it.

And there are scores of the things to consider… holiday gifts, logo’d shirts at conferences, your social media sites, brand reinforcement in your offices, capabilities presentations and so on.

The idea is this… think through all of the possible “touch points” you have with clients and prospects and make sure each of them is the reflection of the brand that you want.  If it’s not… fix it.

Back to the coffeeshop… they could have just given us the cup of coffee at no charge or handed us a little Xeroxed paper coupon, but they didn’t.  They put a little thought into that touch point and came up with a unique, brand-reinforcing tool.  You can do the same.

When you pay attention to the details of all the client & prospect touch points, you build a sustainable competitive advantage over those that don’t.

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