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Omphaloskepsis is a Brand Killer: Keeping your focus where it needs to be

Now that your curiosity has gotten the best of you and you’ve looked that up…oh you didn’t? Okay I’ll wait….So, now, you are probably wondering how the heck is that killing my brand?

Too often companies treat their approach to messaging like a nervous person on a first date: checking his or her reflection to make sure they don’t have something freaky going on with the hair and wondering if the other person thinks they are pretty / handsome / smart / funny / worthy enough, without ever paying attention to the other person to discover what they are looking for in a potential partner. Nervous Dater, like so many businesses, focuses upon how he or she presents himself or herself according to their own needs—not those of the target audience.

And that can kill your brand because branding is about building a relationship with your audience. It’s about getting to know them so well that you can present the value you bring to them in a way they can understand and are eager to hear. You can’t do that effectively if your focus is inward. You can’t engage your audience, if they don’t feel like you are listening to what challenges them or what they hope to achieve.

Here is a simple exercise to test whether your focus is where it needs to be when you develop the voice and message of your brand:

  • Engage people in your target demographic and get to know their unmet need. What isn’t satisfying the desired outcome for them? (In the dater scenario, for example, you would find out what is missing in their life—what eludes them?)
  • List all the features and benefits of your product or service. Now put yourself in the client’s place and express what value those features and benefits provide and how they can fulfill your unmet need (as the client). Write out your value list.
  • Review that list. Identify which values are meaningful to a client and address his or her unmet need and where your opportunity lies to satisfy them.

You may find that what is an important feature to you, has little or no value to your potential customer—that what you have been bragging about in your messaging is something that only is important to yourself. You will, however, discover the essential things that matter most to customers are those you may have taken for granted or deemed inconsequential. You will be able to highlight those values when communicating to that potential client.

The client will be open to hearing how you can help them, when they feel you understand because you have been paying attention…and not just navel-gazing. You may even get a second date.

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