Recently, after a discussion with some fellow business owners, I have been thinking about how businesses develop their branding and messaging – specifically the effectiveness of branding workshops.
It seems that many branding and business development exercises run for small businesses include workshops at which groups of business owners share information about their businesses, the services or products they offer and the future development they hope for. The group members then analyse and critique each other’s current materials and offer constructive comments for improvement.
On the surface, this seems to be a positive exercise, and participants often leave with new ideas and an action plan to put those ideas into practice. However, on looking more into the outcomes that people come away with, I now have some concerns about the final effectiveness. My reason for this is that, in my experience (as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs) business owners have a tendency for certain thinking styles over others. For example, I see a high level of Towards motivation in the self-employed, along with high scores for Internal Locus of Control.
It doesn’t surprise me therefore, that many of the suggestions that come out of these workshops is about making the branding and messages more focussed on the outcome that services provide (Towards), rather than on the problem they solve. Similarly, the wording suggestions are often amended in such a way as to emphasise the control the client will have (Internal Locus of Control). Of course, if your clients mainly comprise other business owners and similar people, that’s great. However, what if your clients are often people who have a high External Locus of Control, or have a predominantly Away From thinking pattern in the context of your product? Your communications could miss them completely.
It has been my personal experience that many types of business workshops, including (but not only) those on marketing, often involve working with like-minded individuals. I now wonder if they carry the risk of resulting in ineffective strategies for those businesses for which the client group are quite a different group of people than those attending the workshops.
Perhaps this is another area in which we can utilise MindSonar profiles – encouraging business owners to use focus groups of actual clients to understand more about what they want in order to decide to develop their messaging, products and services. Or maybe MindSonar could be used within the current groups to highlight similarities and then lead to consideration of whether, from what they tell you, your client group are similar or very different?
It’s certainly something to be aware of whenever we are creating and further developing our own businesses. I’d love to hear your experiences of this or similar situations, so please leave comments in the box below.