The Bua Tong Waterfalls are a delightful day trip from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. They are also known as the “Sticky Falls”, because of the lime content in the water, making the rocks viscous enough to easily walk up the three tiered, fast flowing cascade.
This quirk of nature certainly confused our brains, which totally expected the rocks to be slippery (and in some patches where algae grew they were), but each time we tentatively placed a foot in the water to ‘walk up the waterfall’, we found a grippy surface we could be sure of.
The entire way up we were thinking “Wow, we shouldn’t be able to do this!” The adventure will stick in our memories forever, a once in the lifetime experience now glued permanently into our brains.
So how can your personal brand, like the Sticky Falls, stick in the mind of your perfect prospect?
How can you ensure once someone has interacted with your brand, they want more?
How can you generate stickiness to create raving fans clients, who return again and again to you and tell everyone how great you are?
Here are 6 ways you can create a Sticky Personal Brand:
1. Bringer-Backer Moments
A friend of mine once told me she aimed to create “bringer-backer” moments in her children’s lives so they will remember them vividly and are instantly taken back to the experience in their minds. These are the sort of memories our day trip to the sticky falls will be for us. Many years in the future we will say “remember that trip we took”… it will take us straight back to that activity, becoming a bringer-backer moment.
Think of a place you’ve recently been for a meal that was fantastic, so good in fact that you even said to your dining guests “Wow, we have to come back here again”. What was it that created an indelible memory of it so raw you can still see, hear, smell and taste it?
A brand bringer-backer for professional service provides is the quality of service you can give. Your service creates the experience to remember because of the way you made someone feel.
What’s the “OMG we have to go back there” delivery you can provide with your brand that keeps clients coming back and even better, telling others about how great you are?
The company with the highest customer service satisfaction in the world is Amazon rated higher than Marriott and Hilton hotels, who’s focus is hospitality and UPS & Fedex who are in the business of delivery.
Amazon make it so easy to find what you want, compare prices, select and buy, then sit back and get delivery to your door. Their brand even contains Neurobranding messaging to tell your brain it’s going to be an enjoyable experience. The fun, smiley yellow logo, which is also an arrow, reassures you they will deliver anything from a – z to you.
To create a sticky brand people easily remember and share, make it easy for them to refer or rate and recommend you. Allow rating on Facebook page, thank them for their referral, ask for recommendations and give them to others. Use testimonials on your website – the bringer-backer moments which other people share about your service are 100% more compelling than what you say about yourself.
2. Know-how, Can-do
The most valuable currency on the planet right now is time. Everyone says they are running out of it, all of us want more and at the end of the day, when it’s gone for good, most have no idea where it all went.
As a service provider, you are exchanging your time for money. Your best client not only needs the result you provide, they are willing to pay for it. Why? Because you will get them a result faster than they could achieve it on their own.
The story goes that a woman once dented her husbands car, which was his pride and joy. She quickly drive to a panel beater and begged him to help her fix the dent so that her husband wouldn’t discover her misdemeanour. The panel beater rubbed his chin and thoroughly checked over the dent, running his hands over the metal and observing it from different angles.
Eventually he told the now emotional woman that he could indeed, get rid of the problematic dent and that it would cost $225. “I’ll pay anything to get rid of this dent” she said, immediately agreeing to pay, instantly relieved that he could help her.
The specialist automobile technician went into his shop and picked up a mallet, returned to the car, and knocked the panel gently a couple of times until the dent popped back out, with no noticeable trace.
Exasperated, the women exclaimed “What!!!, $225 for that???”
“Yes” replied the panel beater “$25 labour and $200 for the 35 years experience to know exactly what tool to use, how hard to use it and exactly where to apply it”.
You are an expert professional service provider with know-how people need, because it saves them time and gets rid of their painful situation fast.
Consider the immense pain your prospects are in right now while they have the problem you can fix.
Think about all the ways they might approach dealing with it and what they may be going through.
The words they might use to describe it to their family and friends, the feelings they have about where they are stuck and where they want to be.
Use these words in your marketing, in your brand and tagline. Use images that resonate with them and ensure they know you are the go-to specialist they can trust to remove the pain and get them moving forwards again.
Talk about the problem, mention your solution, but make sure you focus on the outcome, painting a picture in their minds of what it will be like once the pain is over. This drives a dopamine desire for your services and speeds up conversion from prospect to client, and it increases client loyalty, or stickiness.
Scarcity marketing is one of the best ways to get your ‘fence sitting’ prospects to take action and is used by online marketers all the time. Can you create scarcity with your brand to make it more sticky?
Online accommodation site booking.com built scarcity marketing into their website, stating “Only X rooms left” or “Recently booked” to encourage you to make an immediate decision. Amazon’s biggest sales day is Prime Day where limited offers are made available only to members and everyone rushes online to get their deal.
eBay auctions create intense scarcity, if you’ve bought from these sites, you will know the adrenaline rush as the auction comes to a close and people start to outbid each other.
Ever been annoyed that your size or favourite colour is not available on some clothing websites? Many online sellers purposely have out of stock notices to generate scarcity and create social proof that others have bought from them.
Create scarcity with your brand by being unique. Don’t copy others, don’t fit in, do something different.
Make sure you take time to plan your brand launch. Have a system, limit your intake, create a sales funnel to make yourself scarce, desirable, wanted. Don’t be desperate to help everyone, clearly define what you don’t do and who you won’t help.
Find your inch-wide, mile-deep niche and generate a point of difference. Present your brand for what makes it so special, rather than comparing it to your competitors.
When you launch your brand use a countdown clock to generate a sense of urgency and look at Kickstarter or Thunderclap to generate some noise about it.
Make sure you plan it well and make the most of your offer period to build your list because not everyone will buy, but most will opt in to make sure they don’t miss out.
Consider a pre-launch offer to your existing clients to ensure they are rewarded for their loyalty and encourage them to share the deal.
4. The Gillette Model
The razor company cleverly developed a reusable razor with disposable blades back in 1901. Consumers purchased the sturdy, permanent razor handle once and then continued to consume cheap, replaceable blades each time they got too blunt to use. This created a repurchasing business model that has since been copied with great success, including computer software, laser printers & ink cartridges and even the smartphone which you fill up with apps and data.
Could your brand create a similar repurchasing model, making it sticky for your clients to keep buying from you. Creating series or subscription offering, developing a platform and supplying updates and add on’s, developing a program with upsets or bonus levels.
Speaking is a way of developing a continuation model. Never give away your valuable 1:1 time for free, but one to many is the way to go, speaking at events, seminars, webinars etc is a great way to introduce people to your business and grow brand awareness, then offering more at the end of your presentation, to develop a following and feeding your sales funnel.
Consider how much you already know now and how you can generate simple downloadable tools, checklists and cheatsheets so your database of prospects sticks with you for more. Think about the 3 top tips you could share today that your ideal client wants to know about, turn them into a webinar or 30 minute presentation and get out there to share it.
5. Lifetime Value
As brand manager for finance, insurance and superannuation company, AXA and looking after many banking brands that were managed by the World Leading Agencies I worked in, I learned of the importance of the lifetime value of clients.
The banking model is to get your brand in the hands of your prospect as early as possible and make sure they keep it, from birth to death. Banking brands pre-empt your needs, making it difficult to move from one brand to another.
For banks and financial institutions this is done with the opening of a school savings account, with badges, stickers and money boxes that keep the brand in the mind of the child and their parents. Next is the presentation of a credit card, student loan, checking account, mortgage, superannuation, estate planning as they grow older.
They pinpoint specific life-stages to target; getting married, buying a home, having children, retirement, grandchildren, funerals.
Think about the lifetime of your client.
What are they going to go through and what will they need as they do so.
How can you provide a service at different steps in their life, how often can you pre-empt their needs and make sure your brand is front of mind, so when they are ready, they instantly choose you?
Loyalty programs, anniversary messages, membership renewals, thank-you cards, friend-get-friend campaigns, are all opportunities to get your personal brand infant of your clients.
For service based businesses this is where the value of the “10 ride ticket” or coffee card comes in. I recently joined the Coffee club, paying a yearly subscription fee in order to get discounts and deals which suited me because many of my meetings were held in coffee shops and in-between meetings I would head there for the free internet and a cuppa.
In an incredibly competitive world where there are so many choices for a coffee, this membership guaranteed I would look for the nearest Coffee Club or suggests it as a designation for meetings.
How can you become the ‘destination of choice” for your services. What value add or benefits can you offer for repeat customers. It can be as small as complimentary tea & coffee, internet, customer parking, or offering your meeting room for them to use free of charge. Create as many sticky opportunities as you can for prospects to interact with your brand.
6. Early value
Most professional Service Providers I meet worry about giving away their valuable IP, concerned that someone will steal it, or even worse, use it! However, they have no problem giving away complimentary introductory sessions or free consultations in order to ‘win’ a client.
They are prepared to donate their time, but can’t yield a how-to or shortcut, somehow believing that ‘trying out’ their services is a better way to build trust.
In reality, giving away your time lessens your value.
Imagine this: If you had a specific medical condition, lets say a problem with you knee joint, how would you feel if the physiotherapist suggested you try out his services for free and he tried a few things on you, then if you liked the idea of what he was doing, he’d start charging you for future appointments?
How much would you trust his expertise if he wasn’t prepared to be professional about it and charge you for it? My guess is you would forget your knee problem and be running for the hills.
How much do you value your time?
Are you giving it away and then get surprised when it doesn’t instantly convert into loyal, high paying clients?
How many processes, action steps, workflows and productivity plans do you currently use that would be easy for you to turn into valuable ‘gifts’ for your prospects?
You have probably heard about value ladders, where you give something of small value, then continue to give, increasing the value until an offer is made, providing easy steps for your prospect to become devoted to, like leaving a crumb trail to follow.
Mother Teresa said “Give, but give until it hurts”, so make sure you are providing real, tangible value and keep on giving throughout the entire lifespan of your brand.
Not only are consumers wising up to obvious database building tactics, they do not appreciate being oversold and under-delivered. Don’t hold back on the quality of your products.
The best thing to happen when you give value early, is your prospect gets quick results and immediately wants more from you, making your brand sticky to the point of deliciousness.
Bonus lesson – yes here’s an extra tip just for you…
The reason you create a stand out personal brand is to stick in the mind of your perfect prospect and engrain your image into the loyalty centre of your clients decision making brain.
Neurobranding is the science I use to help professional service providers like you, to understand how your ideal client sees your brand and the emotional reaction they have to it that defines how they understand and remember you.
Making sure your brand hits and sticks in the subconscious of the right prospects brain and communicates why they should choose you is paramount if you want to become the go-to specialist.
Colours and imagery can be used to send instant messages to the Amygdala, slipping though the fear barriers and into the decision centre of the brain, ensuring your brand is recalled first, before any other competitors or alternatives.
The brain sees brands with emotion, recalling the memory of how you brand made them feel. Take the time to understand what your ideal clients is looking for, how they want to feel and ensure your brand speaks their brains language so you stick in there memory.
Consider the feeling you want people to have when they experience your brand?
What emotion do you want your brand to generate?
When someone interacts with your brand, what words do you want them to use to describe it?
Making your brand stick in the mind of your prospects increases the chances you are in the ‘wish list’ of providers when it comes time for them to make a purchase decision, so make sure you have a sticky personal brand.