[Kathy] How do you define what a brand is?
[Suzanne] To me, a brand stops people dead in their tracks! It says “this is me, this is how I’m different, like it or not.” I don’t believe in being “safe” or “bland” or “boring.” Design that is “safe” may appeal to a larger market, but it won’t be memorable and it certainly WILL turn off ideal clients, those who are willing to pay your highest fees.
[Kathy] What do you see as the top misconception about branding?
[Suzanne] I’d have to say that people sometimes think that a brand is a logo. Your brand is everything from the way you answer your business phones, the way your clients are greeted in your office reception area, all the way down to your marketing materials like your business card and your website.
[Kathy] What is the main obstacle that keeps females from being authentic?
[Suzanne] From my vantage point, given that my mentor has always been my father, an international entrepreneur, I have to say that women don’t take enough risks. My father drummed it into me that if you don’t take risks, you’ll never reap the big rewards. It goes back to being “safe.”
Men are raised taking risks. They are encouraged to take up sports. They go into politics and business with a heady abandon. They invest money in their firms through their infrastructure, branding, and people.
I’d like to encourage women to think BIGGER. The perfect example of women not thinking big enough is the story of a prospective client referred to me by an existing client. She was looking for a coach to help her build her successful business and sell it in the future.
She had worked with a coach in the past and had gained valuable knowledge and expertise. However, she was no longer working with this coach because the coach had to close her business and take a job. The prospective client ended up not hiring me after deciding that she wasn’t willing to pay my fee, which was considerably higher than her previous coach.
She was accustomed to paying a low fee for coaching services and couldn’t think beyond this roadblock. She couldn’t see the relationship between her coach going out of business due to not charging enough, and hiring me to help her take her firm to the next level.
Investing in your business and your brand is risky. Having the right experts on your team is essential. You have to surround yourself with the experts who can help you get where you want to go. That means taking a stand and being willing to take a risk!
[Kathy] You only coach Financial Advisors, how do you help them stand out?
[Suzanne] I help advisors get to the bottom of what makes their firm different. I help advisors turn their self-focused branding around to a client-focused approach based on the benefits or the end results of working with a qualified, fiduciary advisor.
Often this means declaring up to three target markets as ideal clients for the advisory firm. The reason for this is that if you say you work with everyone, you really work with no one. You are not memorable when you are willing to work with anyone.
[Kathy] What is your brand?
[Suzanne] I stand for personal growth and business expansion as well as targeting a higher level of client. I don’t believe in targeting the low end of any market as I don’t want my clients to work long hours for clients who don’t value what they do. I don’t take clients who are not willing to grow their own skills because I believe that if you want a better life, you have to be willing to change something about yourself. That could be your skills, your depth of knowledge, and your brand.
[Kathy] It was a pleasure talking with you Suzanne, thank you so much for your time and valuable knowledge contribution to the Ladies Who Brand audience!