There is a small porch on Main Street in Disneyland (CA) with two chairs -- the perfect place to people-watch. I can sit there for hours and play people-watching games like "Match, Mismatch?", "Where Do They Come From?" and the most obvious game that we all play silently, "Did They Look in a Mirror This Morning!?" Come on... you know you do it too.
When is it that we become so used to what we see in the mirror that we no longer care what other people perceive? It's not that we should give up being ourselves to make everyone else happy, but holding the line at "normal" could be a huge step for some.
On the other hand, when it comes to your firm or company brand, it does matter more what other people think. Remember that "brand" is the complete package that is your firm or company (communications, PR, graphic treatments, client service practices, people, clients, the color of the walls in your reception area, etc.).
(Return to Marketing Success in a Down Economy index)
If you are looking for something to help your marketing efforts in a down economy take a long, hard look at your brand.
If your brand package has been in place for a while it has probably splintered and morphed over time -- maybe even to the point that your audience no longer knows whom you are. Maybe your brand is simply outdated and old (website is circa 2001 and clients have not been surveyed in 4 or more years). Maybe your target audience has changed rapidly and you haven't kept up.
Maybe your brand needs to be blogging or your invoicing practices need rejuvenation. Is it time to push your rainmakers through training on what and what not to sell? What do people think of your firm anyway?
One of my favorite marketing exercises is to create a persona for the brand of any firm I am working with (I wrote about it here). In short, I give him/her a name, dress him/her, teach him/her how to talk, walk, and function in the presence of my targeted audience. Then, every day we get up together, look in mirror, and go out and greet new challenges.
If your brand walked by me (or you) while we sat in those chairs on Main Street would we think, "Did they look in a mirror this morning?"