Sometimes we’re so proud of our clients, we could burst. We get very close to them and their brands during the brand development process, and when we see them doing great work and achieving great things, it’s very personal to us.
This post is part of a series of one-on-one interviews with people we work with who’ve made us proud. They’re rocking their brands in exciting and innovative ways, taking the ideas we developed together and using them to grow their organizations. We find how a brand works out in the “real world” fascinating and hope you will, too.
This week, I interviewed Brad Farris, Principal at small business consulting firm Anchor Advisors. We worked with Anchor on their rebranding last year, and we’ve watched them follow through on the investment they made in their brand with a host of forward-thinking marketing initiatives. Read on to learn what Brad would say to other business owners looking to rebrand, as well as the secret to writing great articles. (Hint: it has something to do with hiring a writer.)
1. Anchor Advisors is a very successful small business advisory firm—and was long before BatesMeron came into your life. How has the rebranding process helped you and your team so far?
We built the first logo and brand ourselves and it serviced us for a long time. But that original brand was starting to look a little dated, and we had grown beyond where it was. The new brand has helped us to project a more contemporary image that’s in sync with where we are as an organization. We have now had prospects tell us that they felt as if they “knew” us long before we even met, simply because the image we projected really reflected who we are in real life.
2. We’ve seen you in action and your clients are extremely eager to refer you. How do you know if a client is the right fit for Anchor?
We look for business founders who are ambitious and open to change. They have been in business for a while, long enough to bump into some real challenges they may not have solutions for. The clients that we work with gain an advocate, a coach, a consultant and a trainer (all in one) who helps them lift their organization’s performance to a higher level where they can make more money and step back from working quite so hard.
3. Your tagline is, “Own your course.” What does that mean to you, and how do you feel it resonates with your audience?
People who found their own businesses usually set out to make some kind of impact. There’s a change they want to make in the world. But the process of running a business can get overwhelming—they feel tossed and pulled in many different directions. We want our clients to get back in the captain’s chair, where they have a clear course and focus. There they are able to maintain focus knowing that their organization and systems will handle issues that arise. That focus enables you to achieve consistent progress toward your goals.
4. How do you set yourself apart from a sea of “consultants”?
By not being a “consultant”! We don’t think that the traditional consulting model works well for founder-led businesses. Most business founders don’t need advice and a list of things they are doing wrong. They know what they are doing wrong—they just need help to do it a different way. So we position ourselves on the business owners’ side of the table. We do give advice about ways to do things more effectively, but then we roll up our sleeves and get work DONE alongside the business owner. That’s how we make the difference.
5. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could give a business owner looking to rebrand?
As you might guess, I’m big on focus. But when you rebrand it’s really a chance to pull back the zoom lens and take a wider look. Reconfirm who you work with and why they buy from you. Be open to exploring some new directions, taglines or ways of positioning your company. Remember—you hired a branding firm because they are the experts on this—you need to trust them and follow their process. You might be surprised at where it’s going to lead you.
6. You create brilliant content for your newsletter and website. What’s your best piece of advice for sharing valuable content with a key audience?
Thanks, a lot of folks do like our Small Business newsletter. My big secret is that I am only responsible for the lousy first draft. See, writing is hard, and it’s really hard to be consistent with creating good content when you are busy building a business. So I write a terrible first draft of all the articles on the site, then I send them to a terrific writer to turn them into articles that other people would like to read. This keeps me focused on the part I’m good at (understanding and communicating business concepts), and I hire someone else who’s good at the hard part (making written words interesting to other people).
I also do that with video. We have created a lot of video the last 12 months or so, mostly by setting up a point-and-shoot video camera, talking into it until I’ve gotten my point across, then having someone else edit it down to a usable video.
You’ve got to focus on the easy part, and hire people to do those hard parts.
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