1-2-1 brand advice for startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses

Why getting 1-2-1 brand advice is so important

Last week, I conducted three brand creation sessions. Each one was very different from the others, which emphasised why 1-2-1 brand advice is so important.

Collective group brand workshops – with 10-15 people in attendance – have their use, but they need to be very generic, so everyone feels they get a benefit from them. But, every startup and small business is at a different stage. Every business has different needs.

Take last week’s three 1-2-1 brand advice sessions for example (for reasons of client confidentiality, I haven’t gone into too much detail).

The first client hadn’t started her business yet. The timing of the session couldn’t have been better. She was in the process of getting her logo designed, before she had her brand defined. I told her to press pause on the logo design. First, she needed to really get to grips with her offering – her brand. We had to work out how she differed from her competitors and why she would be relevant to her target audience. By discussing the answers on her questionnaire and asking the right follow-up questions, we quickly found an area where her experience and expertise could sit and, more importantly, where her competitors couldn’t. This area was also extremely pertinent to the changes happening in today’s world, which made her even more relevant than she had realised before the session.

Here’s the lovely thank you email I received:

“Thank you for your time, insight and expertise. You clearly distilled my brand/concept and redirected it into a purposeful, relevant and differentiated business proposition. I left our meeting excited and motivated! The report is an excellent record of our conversation and a fantastic resource to keep me on track and on brand.”

As a result of the session, the client has now changed her brief for the logo design.

The second session was all about helping the client turn his hobby into a business. What he did was very unique and he was very good at it. But, now he needed to stop doing it for friends and family, for nothing, and start getting people to pay him for it.

During the session, we concentrated on making it as easy as possible for his potential customers to buy from his website. This involved defining, listing and explaining every service available and how the process worked. As I said, what he offered was very unique which, in turn, meant it was an unfamiliar concept. We needed to make customers feel comfortable and confident, so they would buy the standard products straight off the website or enquire about the more bespoke services.

And, as people buy from people, he needed to include his story on the ‘About’ page. He is very personable and this is very important to him being commissioned. This needed to be communicated on the website.

The third session was very interesting. What the client had written down on her questionnaire, and what I drew out of her during the session were two very different things.

I like to get under the skin of my clients. As Harvey MacKay once said (or it may have been Confucius, depending on which website to believe), “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

The direction my client was about to take her business, would help her live her passion, to an extent. But it would also bog her down in mundane admin that she would soon tire of. We discussed and identified opportunities that would allow her to pursue her passion, but would also give her more freedom, the chance to enhance her reputation and the opportunity to make more money for her services.

The above scenarios demonstrate why our brand creation package include the 1-2-1 brand advice session. Yes, we could charge you less and make more money for ourselves by filling a room full of people and offering generic advice. But, we believe, that every business has something unique about it and it is only through a 1-2-1 session that we can discover what that is.