Find your voice and get your story straight

Being got

You get the need for brand advice (being got)
The importance of being got

By a mile – by a country mile – the most gratifying thing a client can say about working with me is that I got them.

I got them, I got their culture, I got what they’re trying to do. I got what makes them them, or words to that effect.

For b2b and service businesses, being got by outside advisers is vitally important. It’s also, by all accounts, very unusual.

When customers buy from these businesses, they’re buying the culture as well as the product or service. Therefore, a high-performing b2b or service brand needs to be a sincere and authentic reflection of the culture behind it. That’s why a brand strategy adviser has to get you to do their job properly.

On more than one occasion I’ve dealt with wary clients who were carrying bruises from their previous encounter with a brand consultant. They had been good clients. They had trusted the expert and followed their advice, in spite of their reservations. They were left underwhelmed and feeling that their brand had been done to them.

Having been through brand development sessions in the past, we needed some convincing to do this again to be honest. But Phil came highly recommended and the first meeting convinced me that this time around it would be different.

FOUNDER & CEO – advisory business in the telecommunications sector

Your brand strategy shouldn’t be done to you. Defining a brand is an act of realisation. I work with my clients to help them realise what they and their brand are about. This is about surfacing and combining knowledge that is distributed within the company and among its customers. It’s about knowing where to dig and how to join the dots. To my clients the end result feels like them and it feels like something they knew all along. They just didn’t know that they knew until someone pointed it out to them.

This requires some skill for sure. I also think it requires some maturity. With a few grey hairs you’re less eager to impress and more eager to listen. You’re not afraid to ask deceptively simple questions.

Phil demonstrated to us that he truly did understand who we were and what we wanted to achieve as a business. One of our partners commented after his first presentation, ‘You just get us,’ which pretty much summed up our response. We were hugely impressed with the professionalism he applied to the task and we’re delighted with the outcome.

MANAGING PARTNER – boutique law firm

Mailchimp understands the importance of being got. In conversation with Guy Raz on the How I Built This podcast, Ben Chestnut – Mailchimp’s founder – describes how investors (who didn’t get them) kept advising them to chase the enterprise market. They always rejected this advice because they felt much more at home dealing with small businesses. There was a kindred spirit thing going on, a real affiliation with the entrepreneur mindset. Chestnut mentions an internal tagline that captures this affinity. It’s a line that I wish I could steal…

When you’re serving small businesses, you’re talking about entrepreneurs with a dream, right? They’re probably starting a business that’s been started a million times before. Your ice cream parlour is not a new invention. But they have a dream, they have something unique, theirs is going to be different, because of X, Y, or Z. There’s something unique about them.

And so MailChimp, you know, with the chimpanzee mascot, we were weird and offbeat and quirky, just like all entrepreneurs. So now we have this sort of internal tagline that we say, “We got you because we get you.” I believe that’s why they came to us, because our unique brand showed that we understood what it was like to be an entrepreneur.

Ben Chestnut – founder of Mailchimp

We got you because we get you. Being got matters.

If you want some help with finding your brand’s voice, or getting your brand story straight, from someone who understands the importance of being got, drop me a line by email.

You might also find this interesting, with more detail on reading and applying company culture to brand strategy – Unknown Knowns (how to read company culture).