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A blog about branding, marketing, and design, mostly through the lens of practical psychology, intended to be a resource to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Unless otherwise noted, all articles are written by Nyla Smith, owner of n-Vision Designs. {Subscribe to the RSS feed here: RSS}

Branding Mistakes: Overlooking the little moments

Nyla Smith | Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Have you ever been to a magic show?It’s pretty captivating, right? The conclusion of every magic trick is that special moment — the prestige, the climax of the trick — that leaves you mesmerized with delight and amazement at What. Just. Happened?! As a brand, you want to do the same thing. No, not deceive people with smoke and mirrors, but delight your audience. How do you do that? By capitalizing on the little moments.

A branding mistake you should make disappear...

The last of the Top 5 Small Business Branding Mistakes is overlooking the little moments that matter. Why is this a mistake? Because this step encompasses some of the easiest things that a business can do, but often just doesn't take the time to do them!

Out of all five, this one is my favorite. This is where your creativity can kick in, and the fun really starts!

What does it mean to delight people?

To really engage people and make them want to do business with you, you need to captivate and delight them at every opportunity. This entails:

  • Surprising them with something unexpected.
  • Making small gestures that are meaningful to them and make them feel valued.
  • Creating "magic moments" that leave them feeling captivated.

Successful marketing is all in the details.

Be aware of all the touchpoints of your brand, no matter how inconsequential you may think they are. A touchpoint is every instance that someone interacts with your brand in some way. For example, scrolling through your website, calling customer service, receiving an email newsletter, paying an invoice from you, receiving a quote from you, or asking a question on your Facebook page. It could also be someone seeing your ad in a magazine, driving by your billboard, shopping in your retail establishment, using one of your promotional items, etc. The list goes on and on.

There are so many moments of opportunity to make that lasting impression, capture someone's attention, and build brand loyalty!

Think about how you can delight your users at each of your touchpoints. What can you do that is different than the status quo? What can you do to stand out in your user's mind?

You don't have to spend a fortune to leave a lasting impression.

It doesn't have to be a major cost or investment to create magic moments in your marketing! Just think of magic moments as little ways to empower your brand. They can be something very simple! Feeling stuck? Consider the following ideas to get started:

In Person: Greeters, Speeches, and Networking events

Adopt a signature style — whether in your introduction, your tagline, your appearance. In a networking meeting once, I encountered a woman who sang her elevator speech. She had a lovely voice and she delighted the entire room. (Hey, if you can't sing, maybe it's a haiku for you!)

Consider handing out something in addition to a business card to maximize the impact of your encounter with someone. This would be a good opportunity to research and invest in a clever promotional item — something unique that people also find useful (not just your typical ballpoint pen!).

Printed Marketing Materials:

Have a unique business card that helps you to stand out from the crowd. The next time you order a set of business cards, really put some thought into how others will see them. This is often one of the first touchpoints that prospective customers will have with your business. A creative business card will help make that first impression count, and has the potential to delight people with something unexpected before they even become customers.

If you sell and ship physical products, how do you package them to be shipped? Is there a way to make your packaging exciting, maybe with a fun printed design on the box? Inside, perhaps you include a handwritten thank you note. What is the actual product packaging like? While product packaging may be one of the more expensive magic moments to invest in, it may be worth it for your business. Here are a few clever ideas. If you sell products in a retail store, how can you create magic moments across every aspect of the shopper's experience — from when they walk through the door to when they check out? Maybe it's something as minor as making your price tags or display signs unique in some way. 

On Paper: Invoices and Quote Sheets

Have you ever overhauled your invoice or quote sheets? It might be the right time to make a change for the better! When people pay an invoice, find a memorable way to thank them and communicate your appreciation for their continued business support. Add a personalized note, a sincere message, a quote, a joke, or something clever to each one. Offer coupons/discounts/referral rewards on your invoices for future business. Even when people have to give you their money, you can make it more palatable for them!

Online: Website, Social Media Presence, and Your Email Signature

Stay away from templated design solutions. Be creative and unique with your online marketing. Stay up-to-date with the latest technological trends that apply to you and your profession.

Set an expectation of fast response times on social media channels. Go above and beyond when possible! Consider utilizing readily available information from the person's profile to establish a personal connection (e.g. mention something about their favorite movie/artist). Give them some simple suggestions to be helpful, but don't over do it!  

On the Phone: Phone Greeting, Hold Music, Automated Menu Options, Customer Service

We've all heard the default "Please listen closely, as our menu options have recently changed" message that is on virtually every single automated answering system. Personally, I doubt that companies are really changing their phone menus all that frequently, so stop lying to me.  :-)  This is a little moment that you can take advantage of to stand out and reinforce your brand. Don't just use that same canned message because everyone else is doing it. Use the opportunity to do something different!

Infuse something unexpected, such as a sense of humor to placate those customers experiencing long hold times on the phone. If you can improve the person's experience and make it a positive one, then they are more likely to use your services in the future (and tell others about their experience)!

Just as with social media, your phone communication is another opportunity to go above and beyond. When it comes to customer service, take an example from Zappos— famous for delighting people with their unexpected level of customer care. 

It's the little moments that count ... leave them wanting more!

Being mindful and taking advantage of the little moments is an important step of reinforcing and strengthening your brand. Every little detail adds up and this is a way to multiply your efforts exponentially. You'll see it in your level of success and wonder why you never leveraged it before. This is one of the secrets of the larger brands that isn't really so secret, but for whatever reason is often overlooked by small businesses. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the little moments aren't important!

Now, go make magic.

Read more » Mistake #2: Targeting everyone, reaching no one

Read more » Mistake #3: Blending in with the crowd

Read more » Mistake #4: Forgetting that small can be BIG

Nyla Smith is a Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Front-End Web Developer and Consultant with over 12 years of experience. She is the owner of n-Vision Designs, LLC in Hampton, Virginia, which exists to provide marketing support and brand consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses needing creative solutions. Contact Nyla if you'd like to discuss your next creative project. She can usually be bribed to a meeting with a cup of green tea and an oatmeal cookie.
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