There is no better way to build a strong brand than with consistency (IMHO), and the absolute best way to achieve consistency is with…. (drumroll please)…..
Yeah… kinda boring right?
If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t exactly grab a bag of popcorn to be the first in line to learn about systems (you-artist-you), then get excited about this:
By building a system, you are creating consistency. When you achieve consistency, you will have an INSANELY exciting brand!
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Our studio sits right above an amazing Starbucks here in San Diego, so you might say that I am a ‘frequent flyer’ of the Starbucks variety.
(Hi. My name is Erin. I drink a lot of Starbucks, and I’m not ashamed.)
We even bought an espresso machine for our studio so that Jeff, me, and our staff would save a lot of money by not going to Starbucks so much. #intervention #itwasnecessary
The Secret Shopper Experience
Back in our college days, Jeff and I both worked at Starbucks, and the training to be a Starbucks barista was quite precise.
In fact, they had secret shoppers that would come into the store at any moment and order a drink from you so that they could audit the experience.
This secret shopper would have a list of things that they needed to rate from the moment they entered the store to the moment they left with their deliciously crafted beverage.
They needed to rate the cleanliness of the store, the greeting of the cashier, if they were asked for their name or not, how quickly the drink was made, if we called out the drink correctly when it was finished, and if we said the customer’s name and gave them a friendly greeting when they picked it up.
Then the secret shopper would take the drink out to their car where they would weigh the drink and take it’s temperature.
Based on the results, they would know EXACTLY how much syrup was used, if the espresso was pulled right, and if the frothy milk was, well, frothed correctly.
Starbucks has an intense system, and they are serious about it! WHY?
Because the Starbucks BRAND depends on it.
Starbucks knows that if they didn’t have strict systems in place, then they wouldn’t be able to deliver the experience that they promise in their advertising and marketing. The systems create the signature ‘Starbucks experience.’
What if you had a secret shopper for your own business?
- What would the inquiry process be like? Would it hold up to your standards every single time?
- How would your pricing sound and would your process make sense?
- How well-written are your emails? Are they obviously rushed or are they thoughtful and content-rich?
- How often do you post to your blog or to social media? Do the images look consistent with one another? Or do they seem disjointed?
Phew! There’s a lot to think about!
But the good – (nay) – the GREAT news is that all of these external touchpoints with your current clients and your potential clients can be backed up by a system in your business.
And I think that booking more of your Dreamies is definitely something to get super excited about! #AmIright??
What I want you to do is to set a timer for fifteen minutes, and write down all of the regular touchpoints that you have with every single client.
This will most likely be things like responding to their initial inquiry, sending them a booking proposal, scheduling sessions, and delivering images to them.
Those are the basic points of contact that your clients will have with you, but don’t forget to also include all of the opportunities you have to create an amazing experience like sending them a gift right after they book with you, sending them tips and suggestions for their engagement sessions, and sending them a handwritten note on their anniversary.
Incorporate all of these touchpoints into your system as email templates and check boxes in your workflow so every one of these things gets done every single time.
And don’t worry – while these exercises may sound boring and tedious, the exciting part is infusing your brand personality into everything you do! (Like shopping for client gifts – I loved that part!)
Remember that a good brand displays a certain look, feel, style, and message that will appeal directly to their Dreamies.
But a GREAT brand is one that does it over and over and over again…
On my own, I know I can’t deliver a consistent and exciting experience every single time, but a SYSTEM will definitely make sure that I do!