by Erik Doescher
As I write this, my family is currently in the process of moving into a new home. Before all of our stuff can make it through the front door, however, we’re making a few renovations, including retexturing the ceilings, redoing the floors….and painting. Lots and lots of painting.
My wife selected a light grayish-blue color for our kitchen and dining room, a darker grayish-blue for our living room and hallway, a light grayish-white for the master bedroom and my older daughter’s room, and a truer white for the trim, doors and ceiling. It all looks beautiful and goes together nicely (probably all the “grayish” working together). She did a great job.
But then there’s my younger daughter’s room, which strays from the color palette a little. Her room is, well – pink.
In fact, the other day she (very proudly) informed me that the actual name of the pink she had chosen is “Unspoken Love.” (Note: because she’s only six, I can laugh about hearing those two words come out of her mouth….in a few years, maybe not so much.)
Her choice of color didn’t really surprise me. She has a strong personality. She knows who she is, what she wants, and won’t settle for something that isn’t her. Including the color of her room. Pink, or “unspoken love” in this case, is the color that she feels best represents who she is. She’s not going to join the grayish blues and whites just to fit in.
As Ian mentioned in his post last week, we’ve been developing a lot of stories for our clients recently. Developing the story is typically one of the initial things we do for a client because it uncovers what is truly special about their company – something unique that only they can claim. This then dictates how we position them in the market, and ultimately, is what provides the “aha moment” for customers about why they should do business with the company.
The big caveat, though, is that whatever story is developed has to “fit” the company. It must be something that the company and its employees can actually live out. Something that customers can experience in their interactions with the company. In short, it must be genuine.
If your customer service is the same as everyone else’s (or even marginally better), your story can’t be legendary customer service. If you’re not exploring new services and ways to bring them to market, your story can’t be about innovation.
On the flipside, we recently went through a story and brand session with a client who spoke about how they’re the local provider, how they’re offering some of the most innovative services available today, and about the support they provide their community. Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily consider these items “unique.” Every time we talk to a telco, 1) local provider, 2) innovative services, and 3) community support are the three most common attributes we hear. However, during the course of our conversation with this client, one thing became clear: they were focused on honesty. They wanted to be the honest company – one that didn’t use promotional pricing to get new customers, one that didn’t use fine print, and one that always helped customers find the right solution for their needs – not the one that brought in the most revenue. Even though they spoke of other things, their honesty came out in everything they said. They lived it out. And that was their story.
Bottom line: Your story has to be a true reflection of who you are. You can’t be blue when you’re truly pink.