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Build Your Brand Around Your Best Customers

Posted by Alexa Mancilla on May 12, 2022 at 8:30 AM

Who Are Your Best Customers? 

If you run your own company, you know that without customers, you, quite literally, would not have a brand without your customers. However, some brands don't know how to properly market themselves to their customers. 

In one of our recent podcast episodes, we are joined by the creative director of Brand3, Orsolya Herbein. She shares her experience and tips with marketing your brand to specific customers and properly allocating marketing dollars to these tactics. In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares how to build your brand around your best customers. 


EP306 Build Your Brand Around Your Best Customers


A Little More About Orsolya 

Orsolya is the partner and creative director of Brand3, an agency that helps to transform brands and build plans to enable businesses to engage and retain the right customers by aligning brand, marketing, and customer experience. As a former owner of an agency specializing in graphic design and website development, Orsolya has a unique perspective as a visual problem solver, and clients report an average growth of 61% in annual revenue within 2 years of implementing their process.

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: I love starting off our conversations by having our listeners learn a little bit more about what got you here today. How did you come to found this agency and focus on brand and imagery and marketing? 

Answer: The story goes that, by trade, I'm a graphic designer I  graduated from school and started working for a small agency, and then ended up being an in-house designer at a company for a long, long time, and that became a little boring, so I started freelancing. When I started freelancing, I met Matt Chris, my current business partner, and I was his go-to designer my go-to designer. For a long time, he's been kind of a brand strategy guy. I met him in 2010 and from 2010 to 2016, I was his go-to designer. As I was working with Matt, I started to realize that I've been kind of building brands myself; my design was always very functional and I always was looking for something to box myself in with, which is interesting. As an artist and a creative person, the sky is the limit, and I know for myself that if I don't have any boxes or boundaries around me, then I'll just fiddle with it over and over forever, and nothing will ever get done. To me, design is so interesting because you have to make it work; you are communicating, but then you add branding to it, and now your design has to align with a strategic approach. You now have a box you're stuck in and you have to have all these things happen for it to be successful. It has to be functional, it has to work, it has to cater to an audience, but you also have to make it beautiful and to me, that's a challenge that I really enjoy and strive within — to a point.

Down the road from me, there is an art garage that has some random art classes. I'm unable to just do art anymore; I'm totally ruined as an artist. I would go down to the garage and people would be like "let's mess around with ink and just see what the medium can do," and I'm like, "I think this can be a Mother's Day gift for my mom!" Everything has a purpose or function; I can't just do art for the fun of it anymore. I'm just always looking for those boundaries and making sure I don't waste my time fiddling around with ink if it doesn't have some sort of outcome. It's really funny, but that's kind of how it all started. Matt asked me in 2015 if I wanted to become his exit plan, essentially, and we put our businesses together. By then, I had a pretty healthy freelance business, so that's how Brand3 started. 


Question: When you're working with clients now, what do you do to get the ball rolling? How do you figure out where to focus that art is an expression versus just a thing for the brand, itself? 

Answer: The number one strategy — and everyone should and could be able to utilize this — is that your brand isn't built for you. If your brand has the functionality that it needs to engage an audience, then your brand is built for your audience. The number one strategy that we base everything on is to build brands for our customer's ideal customer.

Let's say there's a plumbing business. They have all of these customers, and we usually ask them: "tell us about your best customer." Say their best customer is Beth. Let's learn about Beth; why is Beth so great? We really dive into the ideal customer and figure out how we can bring more customers like that. I usually ask my clients the question: "Can you imagine if you had 100 Beths walking in the door tomorrow? Where would your business be?" That's what we doing and we are going to build a brand that engages all of the Beths to come in and work with you. That's really the number-one strategy to build brands that speak to the needs and the desired and what the ideal customer values very quickly because they're not going to give you a lot of time. We need to have that very clearly stated with the message and the image to make that immediate connection so that they don't have to think about what they want. 


Question:  So, you've identified that here is Amy, your perfect person that you want to build around and replicate; you want a marching army of Amys. What do you do after that identification? 

Answer: The next question is really "what does Amy want in terms of your services?" Say you're a plumber or a landscaper, or a B2B commercial construction company and Amy is a property manager or something along those lines. The question is still, "what does Amy want?" but there are different answers in every business. Sometimes you could even be in the same industry, but your ideal customer might value different things just because you have more strength in certain things. You have to align the strength, the vision, the goal, and what the customer wants into one unified language that will resonate with Amy; really stating what things are and what the value is.

For example, if Amy is a person who really values time-saving and you provide that on some level, or if they really value a partnership or a relationship, you're no longer just competing on transactional elements; you're providing a partnership and a trusted relationship that needs to be built. That's something that can be woven into that high-level messaging so that Amy can immediately connect with the business and ask herself, "where has this been all my life?" and will keep reading on about your business. 


Question: Is there anything else that they should be doing with this? Now you've made sure that your messaging is consistent and you've made sure that it is anywhere and everywhere in the same manner. What is the next step from there? 

Answer: You could have the best brand with the best marketing strategy and marketing tactics to put your brand out there. Your best brand is engaging the audience to get these loads of ideal customers in, and you can flop it on customer experience in a second. That's why, at Brand3, we always look at marketing, which is what our customer wants, in terms of brand marketing and customer experience, altogether, because if any one of these is ignored, you can fail. 

One of our best customers for us is a business that didn't have a great brand because they did;t think about strategically aligning their brand. They have great customer reviews, so that's an easy fix. What happens is that they have all of these reviews, but the perception of what you see isn't professional; it doesn't engage the audience and isn't fully trusted. Their brands don't reflect the greatness of the quality of their products and services. That's a super easy fix in our role and we love doing that. It's much harder when you have a really decent look, and you've been kind of marketing and getting customers, but you only have one and two-star reviews. That's a lot harder for me to fix because it kind of indicates some internal issues; you might have a lot of turnover or something is wrong with your company culture, internally. You have to remember that your brand is resonating both internally and externally. Externally towards marketing and engaging your prospects and customers and then internally to retain your employees and recruit the right and ideal employees, as well as to deliver an experience that your customers are expecting based on the brand promise that you have made. So, that's the third step: to ensure that by all means, you try to exceed expectations and, at the very least, deliver the promise that you're making. If your promise is a trusted relationship, work hard to be that trusted partner for your customers. If your promise is exceptional outdoor living, then you're going to work hard and provide exceptional outdoor living experiences for your customers. For some businesses, this is a shorter transaction and some businesses retain customers for years to come, which is a longer customer journey. You have to weigh each touchpoint against that promise and you have to make sure that your employees are empowered to deliver that experience.


Question: Are there any mistakes along the way that you see that are very common that business owners make in building their brand? 

Answer: There are a lot of mistakes! The number one mistake, I think, in a small business marketing world is to just skip the strategy and branding and just go straight to tactics. If you ask an average small business owner, "what do you think marketing is?" they're going to tell you that it's all about the SEO, the website, and direct mail. When you walk into a small business world, what's happening is that they have the SEO guy who has never communicated with the web guy, who has never communicated with the social media intern, who never communicated to the business owners, and it is just all over the place. These silo tactics are disjointed and not working and are not in sync, and they are causing a tremendous amount of marketing waste. You can be wasting 80% of your marketing budget by throwing in tactics without really having that strong foundation of a brand that has the power to engage an audience. The audience then doesn't understand that the brand could or couldn't be for them, because you're not speaking their language.  At the first point of engagement, all your audience cares about is what's in it for them. Once they figure that out, then they can start to care about the smaller aspects of your company. That is what an audience can connect to very quickly, without thinking. But putting yourself out there with a very general strategy that doesn't try to directly engage a specific audience can result in a lot of wasted money, which is what we're here to stop. 


Check Out The Podcast!

Orsolya has so much great information from her experience in graphic design and branding. Check out the podcast below to learn more about creating great visuals!

Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year: 

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Topics: Podcast Interviews, Podcast, HB Podcast